I favor licensing of gun use and ownership on the model of drivers’ licensing and automobile registration, but I want to comment instead on the politics of gun control. In the wake of this latest school massacre, Democrats and a handful of Republicans may pass something, but it is unlikely they will get sixty votes for a measure that might actually curtail gun use. It’s a question of salience — and similar considerations apply to the politics of student loans and abortion.Read More
Washington is abuzz over the question of who leaked the Supreme Court draft overturning Roe v. Wade. I am far more interested in who were the unnamed officials who boasted to The New York Times and Washington Post about the United States’ success in helping Ukraine kill Russian generals and sink that warship. These boasts are beyond impolitic.Read More
In the wake of his visit to Kyiv, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III declared that America’s objective in arming Ukraine was to weaken Russia. “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree it cannot do the kind of things it has done in invading Ukraine,” he said. One can privately hope for such an outcome without declaring it publicly as America’s goal.Read More
Commentators are alternatively seeing the French election as a victory for Marine Le Pen, who exceeded her 2017 showing by eight percentage points, or as a death knell for right-wing populism. I’d say it was neither. The results reflected the peculiarity of the times and of French politics.Read More
I made several mistakes in judging the conflict with Russia over Ukraine. In so far as others may have made similar errors, it may be worth saying what these are, and what I think is still valid in my earlier criticisms of the U.S. policy. These observations bear on what is valid and not in the foreign policy outlook called realism.Read More
I oppose Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to dismember Ukraine, and I support placing sanctions on Russia. But I am leery of the political process by which the United States and Russia reached this turn of the road, which could signal the beginning of a Cold War II. The process is sadly reminiscent of how the United States had previously come to a point in its foreign policy where it had no favorable options.Read More
One area of policy where I hoped the new Biden administration would excel was in its handling of the pandemic, but it has not done so. It wasn’t prepared for either the Delta or Omicron variants; it failed initially to acknowledge waning vaccine immunity and delayed access to boosters; it still doesn’t have an accurate count nationally of infections; and its public messaging on masks, tests, and vaccines has been confusing and sometimes misleading. That was epitomized by a statement from acting Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Janet L. Woodcock in the Senate hearings yesterday.Read More
“Even with your adversaries, I do think that you have to have the capacity to put yourself in their shoes,” Barack Obama told The New York Times in 2015 in explaining his overture to Iran. The Biden administration needs to do this in its negotiations over Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin.Read More
The main complaint lodged against Donald Trump’s response to the pandemic is that he didn’t “follow the science.” Joe Biden has promised repeatedly to do so. But when it comes to the pandemic, there is a catch: there are conflicting scientific opinions, and our main governmental institutions in charge are having trouble deciding among them. Faced in the last months with the Delta variant, the Biden administration has not performed so well.
Missouri senator and presidential aspirant Josh Hawley, best known for giving a thumbs up to the January 6 rioters and trying to overturn the November election, has now joined Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott in furthering the spread of the pandemic. Hawley is sponsoring an amendment to the infrastructure bill that would restrict federal funding for K-12 schools that mandate Covid-19 vaccines for students or require students to wear masks.