Michael Gerson

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de Julio de 2008. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Una instalación designada por el gobierno para cumplir cuarentena en Nairobi, Kenia, el 24 de marzo de 2020. (AFP via Getty Images) (-/Afp Via Getty Images)

Cuando Blaise Pascal dijo “todos los problemas de la humanidad provienen de la incapacidad del hombre para sentarse solo y en silencio en una habitación”, evidentemente no previó el coronavirus. Pero una complicación del virus, y el distanciamiento social necesario para frenar su propagación, es una nación donde las habitaciones silenciosas son más comunes. Con la obvia excepción de las habitaciones que también confinan niños pequeños, muchos estadounidenses están experimentando una extraña quietud en lugares donde sus vidas alguna vez se desarrollaron ruidosamente.

Este silencio puede sentirse opresivo, por lo que acudimos a Netflix, pódcast, noticias por cable y otras estimulaciones distractoras.…  Seguir leyendo »

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Earth, there have been more than 75,000 cases of coronavirus and more than 2,000 deaths. This leaves U.S. health experts hoping that the number of infections has been dramatically underreported.

That is not a typo. If the current numbers are close to accurate, it indicates a coronavirus mortality rate upward of 2 percent. The mortality rate for the seasonal flu is generally 0.1 percent. The mortality rate for pandemic flu is 0.3 to 0.5 percent. The particularly deadly flu pandemic of 1918 — which took the lives of 50 million people around the world — had a mortality rate of about 2 percent.…  Seguir leyendo »

Refugees from Venezuela cross the Simón BolívarInternational Bridge into Colombia on June 10. (Juan Pablo Bayona/Reuters)

The walkers come in a steady flow, individually and in small groups, through most of the day. The serpentine mountain road they take often has little room at the sides, leaving refugees in the path of traffic. The 350-mile journey to Bogota is part forced march and part pilgrimage — impelled by hunger and desperation in Venezuela, but also drawn toward a new start in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru or beyond.

At this point in the Venezuelan crisis, many of the men have already gone ahead in search of work. Their families now follow. Children drag luggage behind them. Mothers carry babies or cranky toddlers.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tras décadas de comodidad en el Estado del Bienestar y años de gasto de estímulo keynesiano, Europa contempla la alarmante llegada de políticas de austeridad. Ofendidos deudores como Grecia, España o Portugal se están viendo obligados a implantar subidas tributarias y recortes del gasto dolorosos e impopulares -y que son sólo el principio-. Sus ciudadanos echan pestes y a veces piedras contra las fuerzas del orden.

A su vez, ofendidos acreedores como Alemania extienden rescates al tiempo que se preguntan por qué se les ocurriría unir su destino (y el valor de su divisa) a gobiernos tan irresponsables.

Y los que no están resentidos, están aterrados.…  Seguir leyendo »

La sentencia más importante que se puede dictaminar sobre un presidente de EEUU no es si se trata de izquierdista o conservador, sino si es fuerte o débil. El veredicto de debilidad tiende a reforzarse solo. Cada tropiezo avala la narrativa, mientras que los logros que contradigan esta narrativa son minimizados o ignorados (véase Jimmy Carter). Pero lo contrario también es cierto. La fuerza tiene una dinámica propia.

Obama posee un cierto tipo de fuerza que yo había subestimado. Su reserva no carece de pasión. Durante el debate sobre la reforma sanitaria el presidente ha sido tenaz, incluso cruel. Después de la victoria republicana de Massachussets en el Senado, reaccionó con ira y ambición, no con conciliación.…  Seguir leyendo »

Being an educated, professional woman in Afghanistan could not have been easy at any time during the last few decades. I recently met with a group of female government officials, brought to Washington by USAID and the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. One, during the Taliban years, had run an underground school in her home for the criminal purpose of teaching girls. Another had built a community development program employing 25,000 Afghan women before she was put under close guard by the Taliban. Her home was looted, and her children were threatened with kidnapping.

Afghanistan is a country where women have made significant progress — but only compared with a comprehensively oppressive past.…  Seguir leyendo »

In early 2005, the advance of freedom in the Middle East had an air of inevitability. Hundreds of thousands demonstrated in Beirut to demand an end to Syrian occupation. Eight and a half million Iraqis voted with purpled fingers. Even Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak permitted a multiparty election. People talked of an «Arab spring.»

By 2006, what had seemed inevitable was dismissed as incredible. Iraq had descended into civil strife, apparently aided by elections that reinforced sectarian divides. Voting in the Palestinian territories brought Hamas to power. Mubarak, the old angler, reeled back most of the freedoms he had granted.

Some American conservatives found Burkean lessons in the fading freedom agenda, asserting that democracy is a fragile flower that grows only in a rich cultural soil tended by Jeffersons and Hamiltons.…  Seguir leyendo »

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is attempting something rare and difficult — sharing power with the man who tried to murder him.

Every Monday morning, Tsvangirai conducts public business across the table from Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, founder and oppressor. During a recent interview in Washington, Tsvangirai told me that the 85-year-old Mugabe «is someone who can be charming when he wants. I am on guard when he becomes charming. It is when I’m most suspicious of his intentions.»

Mugabe has a long history of co-opting his political opponents — or killing them. «He has not co-opted me,» says Tsvangirai. The killing part is not for want of trying.…  Seguir leyendo »

It so happened that this week, on the day I wrote about Holocaust denial in the Middle East, a homegrown denier took a rifle into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum — an institution where I sit on the governing board. The museum counts about 1.7 million visitors each year who learn about the history of murderous racism — and now one who decided to add to that history.

That day, out of curiosity, I did something I rarely do. I read the comments on my column on a number of Web sites that publish it. In addition to the normal political vituperation, the level of anti-Jewish feeling was appalling.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is President Obama’s defining rhetorical strategy. For every contending thesis and antithesis — Islam vs. the West, Iran vs. America, Palestinians vs. Israel — he is the synthesis. All sides possess a shiny shard of the truth. Obama assembles the mosaic.

Discounting for gush and swoon, the reaction of Newsweek’s Evan Thomas to the Cairo speech was revealing: «I mean, in a way, Obama’s standing above the country, above — above the world, he’s sort of God.» Here is an American president so Olympian in his perspective that he is «above the country.» Obama seldom chooses to be a participant in ideological struggles.…  Seguir leyendo »

El explosivo debate sobre la política antiterrorista de Bush entre el presidente de EEUU, Barack Obama, y el ex vicepresidente Dick Cheney, que tuvo lugar la semana pasada, acabó con acuerdos sobre la continuidad de las comisiones militares, la necesidad de detener indefinidamente a algunos terroristas y la insensatez manifiesta de crear una comisión de la verdad. Y lo cierto es que pese a las disputas acaloradas, con Obama en la Casa Blanca se siguen practicando asesinatos selectivos de terroristas -por ejemplo, en Pakistán-, y se entregan terroristas a países amigos nada quisquillosos con la aplicación de la Convención de Ginebra.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is not every day that one dines with the Sultan of Sokoto — a direct descendant of Usman dan Fodio, who was declared «Commander of the Faithful» in 1804 and founded a caliphate that reached from what is now Burkina Faso to Cameroon.

His Eminence Alhaji Muhammad Sa’adu Abubakar III is a thoroughly modern man of military bearing — and perhaps the most influential religious figure you have never heard of. The sultan is spiritual leader to 70 million Nigerian Muslims. At home, he points out, a dinner at a restaurant is «quite impossible,» because he would be mobbed by coreligionists.…  Seguir leyendo »

Religion has often unintentionally enabled scientific skepticism. The faithful will issue a challenge to science: Ha, you can’t explain the development of life, or the moral sense, or the nearly universal persistence of religion. To which the materialist responds: Can too. It is all biology and chemistry, thus disproving your God hypothesis.

To this musty debate, Andrew Newberg, perhaps America’s leading expert on the neurological basis of religion, brings a fresh perspective. His new book, «How God Changes Your Brain,» co-authored with Mark Robert Waldman, summarizes several years of groundbreaking research on the biological basis of religious experience. And it offers plenty to challenge skeptics and believers alike.…  Seguir leyendo »

Durante años, el régimen sudanés encabezado por el presidente Omar Hasán al-Bashir ha actuado como un grupo terrorista, tomando rehenes a millones de refugiados en campamentos en Darfur y advirtiendo al mundo de que no hiciera ninguna maniobra agresiva. Ahora el mundo se enfrenta a una duda: ¿qué hacer cuando los captores empiezan a matar a sus cautivos? Después de que el Tribunal Penal Internacional dictara una orden de detención bajo la acusación de crímenes contra la humanidad, Bashir respondía expulsando a 13 grupos internacionales de ayuda humanitaria, incluyendo a cuatro importantes socios del Programa Mundial de Alimentos responsables de distribuir comida entre los 1,1 millones de habitantes de Darfur.…  Seguir leyendo »

I recall sitting at a Kigali restaurant with a Tutsi woman who described the death of her younger sister, a university student, during the Rwandan genocide. The girl had been given up for murder by one of her own teachers, who was a nun. The survivor across from me, previously a Catholic, had never attended church again. In the sacrifice of the Mass, she could see only the sacrifice of her sister.

Many items on the list of horribles laid at the door of religion are libels or exaggerations. But this charge — the indifference or complicity of many Christians during the great genocides of modern history — is one of the genuine scandals.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israel’s recent operations in Gaza began in an atmosphere of criticism, including the widespread prediction that the use of force wouldn’t «solve anything.» Since, in this view, a negotiated peace is the only eventual answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is a mistake for Israel to engage its enemies in an endless cycle of violence. Hamas in particular would only be strengthened.

This augury of futility was wrong. Israeli forces, responding to an intolerable provocation, inflicted lopsided casualties on Hamas, which displayed a discrediting combination of cowardice and brutality. Hamas fighters used civilians as shields instead of shielding civilians — and some Palestinians seemed to resent it.…  Seguir leyendo »

On Dec. 14, the Ugandan army launched an attack on leaders of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Congo, targeting its commander, Joseph Kony.

Kony’s epic career of murder has few equals. As both a rebel and a cult leader in northern Uganda, he led an army of stolen children and sex slaves, sometimes forcing his captives to engage in cannibalism and the murder of neighbors to sever ties of community and humanity. The LRA has been known to line roads with the heads of enemies. Terror and conflict displaced millions of Ugandans into camps. When Kony lost his havens in that country, he fled into the chaotic vastness of Congo, using the cover of peace negotiations to raise another force of terrorists and child soldiers.…  Seguir leyendo »

No hay duda -ninguna- de que el ataque de Israel a Hamas en Gaza está justificado. Ninguna nación puede tolerar que una parte de su población viva bajo las condiciones de los bombardeos -pendientes de las sirenas, durmiendo en refugios y a una distancia de la muerte de tan solo la aleatoriedad del vuelo de un misil Qassam-. Y ningún grupo como Hamas puede desentenderse de las leyes de soberanía, de la moralidad y de la civilización, que, como poco, prohíben las tentativas rutinarias de homicidio del vecino.

La respuesta de Israel ha sido calificada por muchos de «desproporcionada», lo cual evidencia la malinterpretación del significado de proporción.…  Seguir leyendo »

There is no question — none — that Israel’s attack on Hamas in Gaza is justified. No nation can tolerate a portion of its people living in the conditions of the London Blitz — listening for sirens, sleeping in bomb shelters and separated from death only by the randomness of a Qassam missile’s flight. And no group aspiring to nationhood, such as Hamas, can be exempt from the rules of sovereignty, morality and civilization, which, at the very least, forbid routine murder attempts against your neighbors.

Israel’s response has been criticized as «disproportionate,» which betrays a misunderstanding of proportion’s meaning. The goal of military action, when unavoidable, is not to take one life in exchange for each one unjustly taken; this is mere vengeance.…  Seguir leyendo »

It is not unprecedented for a diplomat to have starkly different views from the president he serves. After George Washington’s administration negotiated Jay’s Treaty with Britain, the Thomas Jefferson faction in the government went into disloyal revolt. James Monroe — Jefferson’s protege and the American minister to France — urged French officials to disregard all messages from the president and assured them that they were free to retaliate against American shipping.

The most recent example of such vigorous, diplomatic independence would be Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, the architect of America’s North Korea policy. It is difficult to imagine a Bush administration official more at odds with the president’s broad foreign policy instincts.…  Seguir leyendo »