The peace movement slogan “War is not the answer” is not always right. Sometimes — as in the struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan — war is the only answer. But that bromide certainly applies to the current conflict between Israel and Hamas. However long Hamas continues rocketing Israel, and however long Israel continues bombing the Gaza Strip, this war will achieve nothing except a swift return to the status quo ante bellum.
That’s not a message that pro-Israel uber-hawks want to hear, but it’s the truth. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) claims that “handwringing calls for a ceasefire are tantamount to Hamas propaganda.”… Seguir leyendo »
Congratulations — presumably — are due to Israeli intelligence for a devastating fire at Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility over the weekend. Details are scarce, with the New York Times reporting that the site was hit by an apparent explosion and The Post citing an Israeli media report that it was a cyberattack.
So it goes in Israel’s shadow war against Iran’s nuclear program. Recent attacks attributed to Israel included the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist last fall and a mysterious series of explosions that struck various sites in Iran, including a major missile facility, last summer. The most successful attack of all was the Stuxnet virus — part of a joint U.S.-Israeli… Seguir leyendo »
En la película de 1987Los intocables, Eliot Ness, interpretado por Kevin Costner, descubre a última hora pruebas de que Al Capone (Robert De Niro) había sobornado al jurado de su juicio por evasión de impuestos. Cuando Ness presenta la evidencia al juez, el jurado corrupto es destituido y Capone se ve obligado a declararse culpable. Al final, se hizo justicia.
Imaginemos que a pesar de eso, el juez hubiera ignorado las pruebas y el jurado corrupto hubiera absuelto al jefe mafioso. Eso es, en esencia, lo que ocurrió en el juicio político del expresidente estadounidense Donald Trump el sábado 13 de febrero, cuando el Senado se quedó a 10 votos de la mayoría de dos tercios requerida para declararlo culpable, porque 43 republicanos votaron a favor de la absolución.… Seguir leyendo »
Tres conversaciones grabadas definirán el mandato repudiable del presidente de Estados Unidos, Donald Trump. Al igual que las cintas del expresidente Richard Nixon previamente, las grabaciones confirman —solo que con mayor contundencia— que Lord Acton tenía razón al advertir que “el poder tiende a corromper y el poder absoluto corrompe de manera absoluta”.
Primero estuvo la grabación de “Access Hollywood”, que casi descarrila la campaña de Trump cuando fue revelada por The Washington Post el 8 de octubre de 2016. En ella, se podía escuchar a Trump alardeando de que su condición de celebridad le permitía agredir sexualmente a mujeres con impunidad: “Cuando eres una estrella, te dejan hacerlo”.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s been nearly a year since a U.S. airstrike killed Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Quds Force in Baghdad. The fallout — or lack thereof — from that strike should make us cautious in assessing the impact of Friday’s killing east of Tehran of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading Iranian nuclear weapons scientist.
Hawks such as former Trump national security adviser John Bolton expressed hope in January that Soleimani’s death would force Iran to scale back its regional aggression and could even set in motion “regime change in Tehran.” Many critics of the Trump administration, on the other hand, expressed fear that his death could drag the entire region into war.… Seguir leyendo »
Les tengo buenas y malas noticias. Las buenas son que 52% de los estadounidenses apoya al candidato presidencial demócrata de Estados Unidos, Joe Biden, según el promedio de encuestas del sitio FiveThirtyEight. La mala es que 42% apoya al presidente Donald Trump.
¿Por qué Trump no va perdiendo por muchos más puntos? ¿Cómo es posible que tanta gente siga de su lado a pesar de todo lo que ha salido mal en su administración?
Trump está de camino a ser el primer presidente en ver una pérdida neta de empleos desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial. Peor aún: ha estado al mando durante la pérdida de 214,000 vidas y contando.… Seguir leyendo »
Hasta ahora, había sido reacio a etiquetar a Donald Trump como el peor presidente en la historia de Estados Unidos. Como historiador, sé cuán importante es permitir el paso del tiempo para obtener un sentido de perspectiva. Algunos presidentes que les parecieron espantosos a sus contemporáneos (Harry S. Truman) o simplemente mediocres (Dwight D. Eisenhower y George H.W. Bush), lucen mucho mejor en retrospectiva. Otros, como Thomas Jefferson y Woodrow Wilson, ya no se ven tan bien como solían hacerlo.
Ya había escrito, el 12 de marzo, que Trump es el peor presidente de los tiempos modernos, pero no de todos los tiempos.… Seguir leyendo »
When critics of President Trump argue that he is a threat to democracy, his supporters tell us to relax. No one is being exiled to Alaska or locked up for criticizing the supreme leader. The courts, Congress and the media all continue to function. Elections aren’t being canceled.
All true, but it offers scant comfort given the historical experience of how other countries have lost their freedom. There is seldom a moment of clarity, at least not early on, when a dictator announces that democracy has been abolished. Much more common is for aspiring autocrats to chip away at the foundations of liberal democracy — judicial independence, freedom of the press, minority rights, an apolitical civil service and so on — while maintaining its facade.… Seguir leyendo »
Joker, una película tan sombría que hace que la trilogía de Dark Knight parezca alegre en comparación, claramente ha impactado al público. Basta con ver su exitoso fin de semana de apertura. La pregunta es: ¿por qué?
En la superficie, el paisaje urbano infernal que se ve en la película está muy alejado de la realidad actual. Joker canaliza el espíritu de las películas de la década de 1970 como Taxi Driver, Dog Day Afternoon, Death Wish y The French Connection que describían a la ciudad de Nueva York como un páramo de crimen y depravación. Hoy, Nueva York está en camino de tener la tasa de asesinatos más baja desde la década de 1950; Times Square, una vez un centro de pecado, se ha convertido en una atracción turística tipo Disney; y todos los vecindarios de Manhattan, desde el Lower East Side hasta Harlem, han sido gentrificados.… Seguir leyendo »
The politicians who want to return us to an imaginary past are seizing control of our very real future.
In country after country, right-wing populists/nationalists are taking power or holding onto it. In Britain, Theresa May, the relatively moderate Conservative prime minister, is being forced out of office, likely to be replaced by a more hard-line Brexiteer such as Boris Johnson. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have all just been reelected. In the Philippines, allies of President Rodrigo Duterte swept the Senate elections. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro won the presidency.… Seguir leyendo »
The livestreamed slaughter of 49 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has shined a spotlight on how terrorists employ social media. As The Post noted on Friday: “The New Zealand massacre video, which appeared to have been recorded with a GoPro helmet camera, was announced on the fringe chat room 8chan, live-streamed on Facebook, reposted on Twitter and YouTube and discussed on Reddit.”
This is horrifying but not surprising. Terrorism is inconceivable without mass media. Terrorists, after all, typically operate by themselves or in small groups. (The Islamic State is one of the few exceptions: It had grown into a quasi-state before being reduced to its terrorist roots.)… Seguir leyendo »
Weekend after weekend, French President Emmanuel Macron is dealing with sometimes violent protests from a populist movement known as the gilets jaunes (yellow vests). The protesters were galvanized by a plan to raise gasoline taxes, but they are still out in the streets even though the gas tax increase has been suspended. Now they’re demanding, among other things, default on the public debt, exit from the European Union and NATO, and less immigration. I’m dealing with a piece of the online fallout — and in the process learning a dispiriting lesson about how hard it is for a political leader to pursue a moderate path in an age of extremes.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s all too easy to become obsessed with our domestic political turmoil. President Trump, after all, has fired the attorney general and FBI director to protect himself from investigation, tried to prosecute that same FBI director along with his defeated political opponent, described the media as the “enemy of the people,” trafficked in blatant racism and xenophobia, misused troops for political ends, spread fraudulent theories about voter fraud to undermine his political foes, and lied with impunity and abandon.
Democracy is under siege in the United States — but not just in the United States. It’s a worldwide crisis. Democracy has already been destroyed in Turkey, Egypt, Venezuela, Thailand and Russia, and it is now being undermined in Poland, Hungary and the Philippines.… Seguir leyendo »
Imagine 125 million refugees flooding into the United States (population: 328 million). That is what Lebanon has experienced on a per capita basis. Since 2011, this nation of 4 million people has seen an influx of some 1.5 million refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war next door. “I find it a miracle this country hasn’t exploded,” a Western diplomat told me last week. “Most countries would never have allowed this to happen.”
This is the dog that didn’t bark — perhaps the most surprising good-news story in the Middle East. Lebanon has always been on the verge of collapse because of divisions among Sunnis, Shiites, Druze and Christians.… Seguir leyendo »
I am no fan of President Trump and I am ready to blame him for a lot of things — but not for the terrible bloodshed in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Yes, the confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli security forces occurred at the same time as the unveiling of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. And, yes, the embassy’s relocation could have been handled more smoothly and diplomatically. But it doesn’t mean that, if the embassy had stayed in Tel Aviv, peace and tranquility would have prevailed in Gaza.
Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza, would not accept any U.S.… Seguir leyendo »
“The era of liberal democracy is over.” So said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban last week as he began his fourth overall term in office. It’s a persuasive message coming from a self-proclaimed champion of “illiberal democracy” who has consolidated near-dictatorial power by fomenting anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic prejudice, rewriting electoral laws, and installing his cronies to run the media, law enforcement, the judiciary, cultural institutions, churches, schools and universities.
What Orban is doing in Hungary is reflective of a global trend. According to Freedom House, 2017 represented the “12th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.” This is the era of strongmen, such as Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Nicolás Maduro and Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who have brutally snuffed out the remnants of democracy in their countries.… Seguir leyendo »
As a lifelong Republican; I don’t much care who runs the Democratic National Committee. But I am deeply disturbed by the way that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign as the DNC head over the weekend. WikiLeaks released 20,000 stolen emails revealing a clear, if unsurprising, preference for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders among Democratic officials. This appears to be a foreign intervention in American politics — and it may only be the beginning.
Last month, CrowdStrike, a cybersecurity firm hired by the DNC, traced the source of the leaks to two groups of hackers (“Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear”) associated with two Russian intelligence agencies. … Seguir leyendo »
The entire world was surprised when, at the end of September 2015, Vladimir Putin suddenly started moving Russian aircraft, tanks and troops into Syria.
At the time, President Obama predicted the Russian intervention would fail.
"An attempt by Russia and Iran to prop up [Syrian President Bashar] Assad and try to pacify the population is just going to get them stuck in a quagmire and it won't work," Obama said.
This week, the world is equally dumbfounded by the Russian president's announcement that he is withdrawing the "main part" of his forces in Syria. No one knows how big a part of the Russian military presence — consisting of some 4,000 troops and 50 combat aircraft — will return to the motherland or what exactly prompted this latest move.… Seguir leyendo »
The death of Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi has brought forth many critical obituaries, and a few glowing eulogies that focused on his pro-democracy rhetoric while ignoring his actual record as an ally of Muqtada Sadr and an enabler of Shiite Muslim death squads. Chalabi was truly the master of the long con: He continues to deceive his admirers from beyond the grave.
One point made in Chalabi's favor is that he was right to warn Americans of the folly of nation-building in Iraq. This fits in nicely with the critique of the Iraq war adopted by some of its proponents: Overthrowing Saddam Hussein was a fine idea, but we shouldn't have stuck around afterward.… Seguir leyendo »
Imagine President Franklin Roosevelt announcing at the end of 1944, after the liberation of France but before the final defeat of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, that World War II was over and that U.S. forces were ending combat operations. Instead we would support our allies, from Britain to China, in their fight against the Axis powers.
Hard to imagine, but that's roughly what happened Sunday when the International Security Assistance Command held a ceremony in Kabul to mark the “end” of the war in Afghanistan. “The longest war in American history is coming to a responsible conclusion,” President Obama trumpeted in a statement from Hawaii, where he is vacationing.… Seguir leyendo »