The Atlantic »

Greenland’s Wishes Don’t Matter to Trump

August 27, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Tom Cotton has carved out a niche in Washington. From his bill slashing legal immigration to his defense of tariffs against China to his calls for attacking Iran and preparing for war with North Korea, the senator from Arkansas—who holds two Harvard degrees and won a Bronze Star in Iraq—has become Trumpism’s respectable face.

So it’s little surprise that his byline appeared in The New York Times yesterday above an op-ed defending Donald Trump’s latest widely mocked gambit. The op-ed’s title: “We Should Buy Greenland.” Its argument: Make colonialism great again.

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The Atlantic »

Disloyal to What?

August 21, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Donald Trump isn’t only venomous; he’s also vague. So when he said yesterday that “any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat, I think it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” it wasn’t entirely obvious whom he was accusing Jewish Democrats of being disloyal to. But the most plausible explanation is that he was accusing them of being disloyal to Israel.

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The Forward »

Bipartisan Support For Israel Is Dead. That’s A Good Thing

August 19, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

It’s become a ritual. Every time Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu do something that outrages Democrats, centrist commentators warn that they are committing a grave offense: They’re making Israel a partisan issue.

The accusation has been nearly ubiquitous since the two leaders last week conspired to deny Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar’s request to visit the West Bank.

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The Atlantic »

Only Biden Can Challenge Trump on Trade

August 18, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Joe Biden needs to win Iowa. If Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders beats him in the Democratic caucuses there, they’re also likely to beat him in New Hampshire, which borders their home states, and where Biden has a smaller lead in the polls. If Kamala Harris wins Iowa, many of Biden’s African American supporters could defect to her, as Hillary Clinton’s did after Barack Obama won the state in 2008. That would spell trouble for Biden in South Carolina.

How can Biden win the Hawkeye State? He can start by doing something Democratic presidential candidates haven’t done in many years: forcefully defend free trade.

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The Forward »

Netanyahu Banned Omar And Tlaib Because The Occupation Must Be Hidden To Survive

August 15, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Most establishment American Jewish leaders think Israel’s decision to bar Representatives Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar from visiting the West Bank was, in the words of The Democratic Majority for Israel, “unwise.”

Benjamin Netanyahu, the American Jewish Committee argued, should have realized that “visiting Israel is essential to gaining a better understanding of this… open, democratic society.”

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The Atlantic »

White Nationalists Discover the Environment

August 5, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

On Saturday, a gunman killed 21 people at a Walmart in the border city of El Paso, Texas. Minutes before the shooting, a four-page rant seeming to justify the attack appeared online. It includes white-nationalist diatribes about “cultural and ethnic replacement” and an immigrant “invasion.” Horrific and familiar.

But the so-called manifesto includes another theme, which fits less obviously into the white-nationalist script: environmentalism. The American lifestyle is destroying the environment, the author declares. But the answer is not to ask native-born white Americans to change their ways. It is to rid the country of Latinos.

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The Forward »

‘Delegitimizing Israel’ Is Code For Pointing Out Truths Israel Doesn’t Want To Admit

August 2, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

The Anti-Defamation League’s Ken Jacobson wants you to believe that I called Israel racist in my recent article “The Real Reason So Many Republicans Love Israel. Their Own White Supremacy.” “Characterizing Israel as fundamentally racist,” he claims, constitutes one of my “arguments.”

But he has a problem. I didn’t call Israel racist because that’s not what I believe. I called it an “ethnic democracy.” Jacobson calls that a “euphemism” and says my real “intent is unmistakable.” No, “ethnic democracy” and “racist” are different. He’s confusing my motives with his ignorance.

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The Atlantic »

But What About China?

August 1, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

There was a post-superpower quality to this week’s Democratic debates. On both nights, foreign policy came up near the end, and the discussion focused mostly on the need to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, avoid war with Iran and, in Michael Bennet’s words, “invest in America again.” That’s fine, as far as it goes. But there was strikingly little discussion about America’s role in upholding a particular balance of power in the world. It was almost as if these Democratic candidates were running for prime minister of Canada.

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The Atlantic »

Democratic Moderates Fade Into the Background

July 31, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Last night’s Democratic debate showed how America’s political parties have turned upside down. At center stage stood Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, making arguments about decriminalizing illegal border crossings and abolishing private health insurance that would have sounded fantastical just a few years ago. Throwing darts from the edges were John Delaney, Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper, and Tim Ryan—candidates garnering less than 1 percent in national polls—whose relatively centrist views sounded like Barack Obama’s.

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The Atlantic »

Trump Is Making Up Reasons to Stoke Racial Fears

July 29, 2019 | post a comment | Philip Johnson

Over the past two weeks, as President Donald Trump has picked fights with Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and now Elijah Cummings, a consensus has emerged: Trump has begun his reelection campaign. He’s stoking bigotry to motivate his conservative white base.

It makes sense. But if Trump is launching an offensive, he’s also trying to solve a problem: He has less material. Over the course of Trump’s 2016 campaign, the United States and its allies experienced spasms of deadly violence, which helped him convince white Christian Americans that only he could protect them from a supposed threat from Muslims and blacks. Today, although America still experiences plenty of violence—mass shootings, for instance—it’s not the kind that fits Trump’s narrative. So instead of exploiting incendiary events, he has to create them.

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