The Atlantic »

The Nationalism That Trump Can’t See

January 8, 2020 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Iran’s missile attack last night on bases where American forces in Iraq are stationed offered the latest evidence that the Trump administration has done something extraordinary. By killing Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military leader, at a Baghdad airport, it has turned both Iranian and Iraqi nationalism against the United States.

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The Atlantic »

The Embassy Attack Revealed Trump’s Weakness

January 1, 2020 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Over the past 18 months, Donald Trump has picked a fight with Iran that he won’t end and can’t win. That fight has had horrifying consequences for the Iranian people, led Tehran to restart its nuclear program, and now left parts of the American embassy compound in Baghdad in flames. In the days and weeks to come, Trump’s policy will likely lead either to war or to additional American humiliation, or both.

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The Atlantic »

The Left-Right Divide Isn’t the One That Matters

December 23, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Locked in a close race for first place in both Iowa and New Hampshire with only weeks to go before Democratic presidential-primary voting begins, Pete Buttigieg, along with his advisers, is talking about bringing people together. In a recent New Yorker profile, Benjamin Wallace-Wells quoted Buttigieg as welcoming “future former Republicans” into “our movement” and pledging to “unify the American people” once Donald Trump is gone. One Buttigieg strategist explained that the South Bend, Indiana, mayor wants to tap into America’s “yearning for reconciliation.” Another adviser, Lis Smith, recently contrasted her boss, whom she credited with the ability to “heal our divides,” with Elizabeth Warren, who is supposedly contributing to the “divisiveness that is tearing this country apart.”

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Interviews »

How To End American Militarism: A Conversation With Peter Beinart

December 18, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Washington, DC isn’t necessarily known for self-reflection.

In fact, you can probably throw a stone in #ThisTown and hit someone who wholeheartedly supported the Iraq War, never admitted they were wrong, and yet continue to pontificate on television and in the nation’s most prominent newspapers, not just about U.S. foreign policy, but also U.S. wars in the Middle East.

Peter Beinart isn’t one of those people (well, he lives in New York, so the stone throwing analogy probably isn’t as apt). Nonetheless, Beinart, a professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York and a contributing writer at The Atlanticsupported the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. But he’s one of the very few who have seriously grappled with the failures of its intellectual underpinnings. He has not only taken responsibility for participating in the pro-Iraq war discourse, but Beinart has also emerged from the wreckage as one of the most prominent progressive thought leaders on U.S. foreign policy, offering bold solutions to some of the world’s most complex security challenges.

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The Forward »

Of Course They’re Accusing Bernie Sanders Of Anti-Semitism – Because He Supports Palestinians

December 18, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Given Bernie Sanders’ endurance as a top-tier presidential contender, and his support for Palestinian rights, it was almost inevitable that conservatives would start labelling his campaign anti-Semitic. Last week’s election in Britain—and the alleged similarities between Sanders and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn—provided the pretext.

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The Forward »

Progressives Need To Face The Truth: Jeremy Corbyn’s Record On Anti-Semitism Is Bad

December 9, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

When it comes to the furor surrounding British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s supposed anti-Semitism, three unsettling things are true. First, Corbyn is not the major party candidate most complicit in bigotry. That ugly distinction goes to Britain’s current prime minister, Boris Johnson.

Second, the British Jewish establishment has largely given Johnson a pass, which suggests — as does much other evidence — that its furious opposition to Corbyn stems as much from its desire to shield the Israeli government from criticism as from principled opposition to prejudice. If Corbyn weren’t passionate about Palestinian rights, he wouldn’t be under this much attack.

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The Atlantic »

Progressives Have Short Memories

December 4, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

A bitter irony underlies Kamala Harris’s exit from the presidential campaign. She lost, in part, because she couldn’t forthrightly defend her record as a prosecutor. She couldn’t forthrightly defend that record because party activists deemed it insufficiently progressive. They portrayed her as complicit in the unjust incarceration and killing of black and Latino men.

Yet had Harris—especially as a black woman—been the crusading criminal-justice reformer that Democrats now want to see, she would likely never have been in a position to run for president in the first place. What doomed Harris wasn’t just the Democratic Party’s leftward shift on racial and criminal-justice issues. It was the party’s lack of sympathy for the very different political environment Harris faced just a few years ago, when women and black candidates faced intense pressure to show that they were tough on crime.

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The Atlantic »

Cory Booker Blew It

November 27, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Near the end of the latest Democratic debate, Cory Booker did something unusual for a presidential candidate: He admitted that his campaign was in trouble. “I have not yet qualified for the December stage,” the senator from New Jersey confessed, “If you believe in my voice and that I should be up here, please go to CoryBooker.com. Please help.”

The plea worked. A surge of contributions pushed Booker past the donor threshold needed to quality for the next debate, which is scheduled for December 19. But that might not be enough. To take the stage, Booker also needs at least 4 percent in four national or state polls or at least 6 percent in two polls from early states. As of November 24, according to The New York Times, he doesn’t have a single one. If that doesn’t change between now and the cutoff date of December 12, Booker’s campaign will be left for dead.

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The Forward »

The Problem With Settlements Is Not That They Are Illegal. It’s That They Are Immoral

November 19, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Yesterday the Trump administration said Israeli settlements in the West Bank don’t violate international law. That’s absurd. Among international lawyers, the consensus that settlements are illegal rivals the consensus among international scientists that humans contribute to climate change. As UCLA’s Dov Waxman has pointed out, the legal advisor to Israel’s own foreign ministry admitted that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention” after Israel conquered the West Bank in 1967.

But critics who condemn the Trump administration for disregarding international law are missing the deeper point. So are critics who condemn it for undermining the two-state solution.

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The Atlantic »

The GOP Won’t Disavow Trump, but Nikki Haley Has Another Strategy

November 15, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Nikki Haley has a theory about the post–Donald Trump GOP. It’s that Republicans will want to move on from Trump without repudiating him. They’ll want a candidate who promises healing without accountability. Haley auditions for that role in her new memoir, With All Due Respect. A former South Carolina governor who served as Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, Haley is a bellwether for her party. She’s done a better job than almost anyone of remaining popular with both Trumpists and the pre-Trump establishment alike, and at 47, she’s a likely presidential candidate in the years ahead. It’s figures like her who will decide whether Trump was a fluke—or the Republican future.

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