The Atlantic »

The ‘To Be Sure’ Conservatives

July 13, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Donald Trump’s brazen violation of principles American conservatives were once thought to cherish—from free trade to family values to a hard line against America’s foes—has split right-leaning pundits into three camps. At one extreme are the pure sycophants. For them, conservatism is whatever Trump says it is. Many, like Sebastian Gorka, were unknown until Trump’s presidency, which means they can applaud whatever he does without worrying that people will notice they’ve abandoned principles they formerly held. At the other extreme are anti-Trump conservatives like George Will, Bret Stephens, and David Frum, who frankly acknowledge that Trump has desecrated conservative principles—along with liberal democratic ones—and as a result denounce him in the harshest of terms. Read more…

The Atlantic »

What’s the Point of NATO, Anyway?

July 12, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

In his repeated attacks on the Western alliance—culminating in a head-spinning morning with reports of Trump threatening to “go his own way,” followed by his declaration that “I believe in NATO”—Donald Trump has raised an important question: What’s the point of NATO anyway? Today, even asking that question places you on the outer fringes of American foreign-policy debate. But that wasn’t always so. Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan’s former UN ambassador, has a chair named after her at the Council on Foreign Relations. But in 1990, she declared, without regret, that “NATO will not survive the current reconfiguration of Europe.” Every year the American Enterprise Institute gives out an award named for Irving Kristol, the “godfather of neoconservatism.” But in 1993, Kristol wrote that NATO is on the “way to becoming moribund” as America embraces “a renascent nationalism.” This, Kristol added, “is something that most conservatives have long wished for.” Read more…

The Atlantic »

NATO Doesn’t Need More Defense Spending

July 11, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Donald Trump makes everyone else look mature. So it’s easy to forget that, sometimes, he’s not the only one who’s wrong. His establishment critics are, too. Read more…

The Forward »

Furious About Family Separation? You Should Also Care That Israel Is Razing Bedouin Villages

July 5, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

American Jewish groups have, for the most part, condemned the Trump administration’s policy of separating parents from their children at the border.


So why can’t they condemn the Netanyahu administration’s policy of destroying villages like Khan al-Ahmar? Read more…

The Atlantic »

The Left and the Right Have Abandoned American Exceptionalism

July 4, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Barack Obama and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have a lot in common. They’re both courteous, charismatic and wonky. They’re both people of color who rose from modest means in part because their mothers fought to get them a decent education. They were both community organizers. And at tender ages they both challenged older, entrenched House Democrats, though Obama—in his 2000 race against Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush—lost. Read more…

The Forward »

Trump Is Turning America Into An Idol

June 28, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

There are many reasons for American Jews to reject Donald Trump’s inhuman treatment of the undocumented families who cross America’s borders. The Torah emphasizes the value of all people. (It doesn’t begin with Jews. It begins with Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel and Noah, who hail from no nation or tribe). The Torah repeatedly stresses our responsibility to the stranger. And, in modern times, Jews have often needed the very refuge that Central American migrants seek today. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Why Joseph Crowley’s Defeat Should Scare Joe Biden

June 27, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

There are plenty of reasons to downplay the ideological significance of 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win yesterday over House Democratic powerbroker Joseph Crowley. Even by the standards of congressional primaries, turnout was low. In a district of roughly 650,000 people, Ocasio-Cortez won with only 16,000 votes. Ocasio-Cortez’s victory can also be chalked up to ethnic succession. Crowley is an Irish American representing a district, in Queens and the Bronx, that was once filled with white ethnics. Today it is less than 20 percent white and almost 50 percent Latino. Ocasio-Cortez exploited that shift by emphasizing her Puerto Rican roots. Finally, Ocasio-Cortez is a woman running in a year in which the #MeToo movement and the backlash against President Trump has palpably boosted Democratic women candidates. Read more…

The Atlantic »

There Is No Immigration Crisis

June 27, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Are Democrats walking into a trap on immigration? Three of America’s most astute and iconoclastic political commentators—David FrumAndrew Sullivan, and Fareed Zakaria—all immigrants themselves, fear the answer is yes.

In recent days, each has made a version of the same argument. Yes, they acknowledge, President Trump’s policy of separating families at America’s southwestern border was monstrous. Democrats were right to protest it. But now, by opposing even the detention of families, Democrats are overreaching. By rejecting the harsh but necessary steps required to end America’s illegal immigration crisis, they’re becoming—or at least looking like—advocates of open borders. And when that happens, Trump wins. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Why Can’t Democrats Give Trump Credit on North Korea?

June 15, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

For congressional Democrats, it’s payback time. Ever since 2015, when Barack Obama struck a nuclear deal with Iran, prominent Republicans—including Donald Trump and his top foreign policy advisers—have accused Obama and his Democratic supporters of, in Mike Pompeo’s words, “surrender.” They’ve accused Obama of signing a deal that doesn’t meaningfully restrain Iran’s nuclear ambitions and, by seeking a warmer relationship with its regime, of betraying Iran’s long-suffering people. Read more…

The Atlantic »

Trump Takes His Party Back to the 1920s

June 14, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The last few days—as President Donald Trump has savaged America’s allies over trade, demanded that they readmit Russia to the G7, and embraced North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un—make something clear: Cold War conservatism is dead. What’s replacing it resembles less the foreign-policy outlook that has animated conservatives since World War II than the sentiment that prevailed before it. Read more…