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Striking the Syrian Regime Is Not Legitimate

April 13, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The story of American humanitarian war, as expressed over the last quarter-century, is a tragedy. It’s the tale of well-meaning interventionists like Samantha Power and Susan Rice who—haunted by America’s failure to act in Rwanda in 1994, and emboldened by America’s partial successes in Bosnia in 1995 and Kosovo in… Read the Rest »

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Trump’s Dangerous Threat of War

April 11, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The problem is not simply that congressional leaders won’t stop President Trump from firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and maybe Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and plunging America into a constitutional crisis. The problem is that those congressional leaders—while allowing Trump to do all this—are also allowing him to take… Read the Rest »

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The Deeply Underdeveloped Worldview of John Bolton

March 29, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Survey the history of American national-security advisors going back to the position’s creation in the mid-twentieth century, and two things about John Bolton stand out. The first is his militancy: his incessant, almost casual, advocacy of war. The second—which has gotten less attention but is deeply intertwined with the first—is… Read the Rest »

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John Bolton and the Normalization of Fringe Conservatism

March 24, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Since President Trump chose John Bolton as national-security adviser, the media has focused largely on Bolton’s calls for war with North Korea and Iran. And for good reason. But there’s another element of Bolton’s record that’s received less scrutiny but may also illuminate how he’ll approach his new role, and the compromises he… Read the Rest »

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The Nancy Pelosi Problem

March 23, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Last may, Washington Post’s James Hohmann noted “an uncovered dynamic” that helped explain the GOP’s failure to repeal Obamacare. Three current Democratic House members had opposed the Affordable Care Act when it first passed. Twelve Democratic House members represent districts that Donald Trump won. Yet none voted for repeal. The “uncovered dynamic,” Hohmann… Read the Rest »

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The Problem With Biden’s Fantasy About Beating Up Trump

March 22, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

At the University of Miami on Wednesday, Joe Biden had an odd fantasy. He declared that had he heard Donald Trump boasting about sexually assaulting women in high school, he would have taken “him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.” Biden has said something similar before. He shouldn’t say it… Read the Rest »

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Republicans Don’t Want a Primary Challenge to Trump

March 20, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Last Friday in New Hampshire, Jeff Flake—the outgoing Republican senator from Arizona who has denounced President Donald Trump as a threat to American democracy—got a standing ovation in Manchester, New Hampshire. John Kasich, another potential challenger to Trump in the 2020 GOP primary, will visit the Granite State next month. “The unusual flurry of… Read the Rest »

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Mike Pompeo’s Allies on the Anti-Muslim Right

March 15, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Try this simple experiment. Take Mike Pompeo’s statements about Muslims, and his alliances with anti-Muslim bigots. Then imagine that he had made similar statements about Jews, and forged similar ties to anti-Semites. Then imagine the reaction if he were nominated for secretary of state.

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The Rise of Right-Wing Foreign Policy in America

March 15, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

To grasp the significance of Donald Trump’s decision to replace Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, it’s worth remembering how Tillerson became secretary of state in the first place. He got the job, in large measure, because Condoleezza Rice and Robert Gates urged Trump to hire him. Rice and Gates knew Tillerson… Read the Rest »

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What Trump Means When He Calls Gary Cohn a ‘Globalist’

March 9, 2018 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The term “globalist” is a bit like the term “thug.” It’s an epithet that is disproportionately directed at a particular minority group. Just as “thug” is often used to invoke the stereotype that African Americans are violent, “globalist” can play on the stereotype that Jews are disloyal. Used that way,… Read the Rest »