What to do about North Korea?

The death of Otto Warmbier after captivity in North Korea serves as a reminder—if anybody needed one—that the regime in Pyongyang is brutal as well as bizarre. What should the United States do? Sanctions can be ratcheted up, but the ...

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Pragmatism and the Democratic Divide

The lead article in today’s NY Times reports on a “deepening divide” within the Democratic Party as the party’s base tilts towards the left. The 2016 election debacle and its catastrophic consequences have evoked a rising tide of activism aimed ...

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One for the Forces of Darkness

So, the struggle between the forces of darkness and the forces of…well, not exactly light, but relative sanity… continues in the Trump entourage.   Not long ago, the pundits were reporting on how Jared Kushner—a leader of the sane faction—had managed ...

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Donald in Palestine

Donald Trump fancies himself the world’s greatest deal-maker, and now he’s pitching himself as the man to broker the deal that finally ends the historic conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Trump’s angle is to stress that if Israel wants ...

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Donald in Arabia

Donald Trump has gotten rather positive press coverage for his address to the Saudis. Remember his State of the Union address? Whenever Trump talks for more than 5 minutes without making an obvious ass of himself, people start calling him ...

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Dinner at the White House

Donald Trump and James Comey had dinner at the White House on January 27, just the two of them together. Quite an unusual tete a tete, wouldn’t you think—the President of the United States entertaining a lowly FBI Director at ...

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The Firing of Comey

Strictly speaking, Comey deserved to be fired. He deserved to be fired for the reasons laid out by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in his memo to his boss Jeff Sessions. Comey’s pronouncements about his investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails ...

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Trump the Revolutionary?

One of the front page commentaries in today’s NY Times “Sunday Review” proclaims a new, revolutionized Republican Party, thanks to Donald Trump. The party of Ronald Reagan is dead, the author, R.R. Reno, claims. Trump has overturned traditional Republican/conservative themes ...

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Ideology, Pragmatism and Bernie

It is commonplace in our political discourse to treat the words “ideological” and “pragmatic” as practically antonyms. According to the conventional wisdom, pragmatists understand that social and political change is usually gradual and incremental; they keenly appreciate the practical obstacles ...

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The Partisan Chasm

In these polarized times, people tend to avoid talking about politics at holiday family get-togethers. I don’t usually encounter that phenomenon: most of my holidays, it happens, are spent with friends and family whose views are predominantly progressive.  There are ...

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