"Whom the gods would destroy, they first tempt to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict."
-- Irving Kristol
WASHINGTON -- The quixotic American pursuit of Middle East peace is a perennial. It invariably fails, yet every administration feels compelled to give it a try. The Trump administration is no different.
It will fail as well. To be ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The pleasant surprise of the First 100 Days is over. The action was hectic, heated, often confused, but well within the bounds of normalcy. Policy (e.g., health care) was being hashed out, a Supreme Court nominee confirmed, foreign policy challenges (e.g. North Korea) addressed.
Donald Trump's character -- volatile, impulsive, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It is implausible that FBI Director James Comey was fired in May 2017 for actions committed in July 2016 -- the rationale contained in the memo by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
It is implausible that Comey was fired by Donald Trump for having been too tough on Hillary Clinton, as when, at that July news conference, he ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- With near unanimity, my never-Trump friends confess a sense of relief. It could have been worse. They thought it would be worse. A deep apprehension still endures but the international order remains intact, the republic still stands, and no "enemy of the people" has (yet) been arrested.
Admittedly, this is a low bar. And this is ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Yesterday’s conventional wisdom: A wave of insurgent populism is sweeping the West, threatening its foundational institutions -- the European Union, the Western alliance, even liberal democracy itself.
Today’s conventional wisdom (post-first-round French presidential election): The populist wave has crested, soon to abate.
WASHINGTON -- The crisis with North Korea may appear trumped up. It’s not.
Given that Pyongyang has had nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for more than a decade, why the panic now? Because North Korea is headed for a nuclear breakout. The regime has openly declared that it is racing to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The world is agog at Donald Trump’s head-snapping foreign policy reversal. He runs on a platform of America First. He renounces the role of world policeman. He excoriates parasitic foreigners that (I paraphrase) suck dry our precious bodily fluids -- and these are allies! On April 4, Trump declared: “I don’t want to be the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- For euphemism, dissimulation and outright hypocrisy, there is nothing quite as entertaining as the periodic Senate dust-ups over Supreme Court appointments and the filibuster. The arguments for and against the filibuster are so well-known to both parties as to be practically memorized. Both nonetheless argue their case with great ...Read more
Secret of the Warlock's CryptTom Hayes
Cryptic drawings, maps, strange symbols. This is what Mike Hilliard discovers as he investigates the long-dead millionaire Titus Morley. The strange symbols & drawings hover in Mike’s dreams as he rambles through the summer with Billy, a photography intern at the historical society ...
WASHINGTON -- Repeal-and-replace (for Obamacare) is not quite dead. It has been declared so, but what that means is that, for now, the president has (apparently) washed his hands of it and the House Republicans appear unable to reconcile their differences.
Neither condition needs to be permanent. There are ideological differences between the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Under the dark gray cloud, amid the general gloom, allow me to offer a ray of sunshine. The last two months have brought a pleasant surprise: Turns out the much feared, much predicted withering of our democratic institutions has been grossly exaggerated. The system lives.
Let me explain. Donald Trump’s triumph last year was ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, but for governments it’s not that easy. Once something is given -- say, health insurance coverage to 20 million Americans -- you take it away at your peril. This is true for any government benefit, but especially for health care. There’s a reason not one Western democracy with some ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- When he was Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state, George Shultz was once asked about the CIA’s disavowal of involvement in a mysterious recent bombing in Lebanon. Replied Shultz: “If the CIA denies something, it’s denied.”
Has there ever been a more dry, more wry, more ironic verdict on the world of espionage? Within it, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Among the many unintended legacies of Barack Obama, one has gone largely unnoticed: the emergence of a novel form of resistance to executive overreach, a check-and-balance improvised in reaction to his various presidential power grabs.
It’s the revolt of the state attorneys general, banding together to sue and curb the executive...Read more
WASHINGTON -- At the heart of Donald Trump’s foreign policy team lies a glaring contradiction. On the one hand, it is composed of men of experience, judgment and traditionalism. Meaning, they are all very much within the parameters of mainstream American internationalism as practiced since 1945. Practically every member of the team -- the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- It’s a Watergate-era cliche that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. In the Mike Flynn affair, we have the first recorded instance of a cover-up in the absence of a crime.
Being covered up were the Dec. 29 phone calls between Flynn and the Russian ambassador to Washington. The presumed violation was Flynn ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Stupid but legal. Such is the Trump administration’s travel ban for people from seven Muslim countries. Of course, as with almost everything in American life, what should be a policy or even a moral issue becomes a legal one. The judicial challenge should have been given short shrift, since the presidential grant of authority to ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- There are many people to thank for the coming accession of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the high court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of...Read more