Aug 4, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 44 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
On Tuesday, President Obama visited the Dutch embassy in Washington to pay his respects to the victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, shot down over Ukraine by forces armed and backed by Vladimir Putin. Obama wrote in the embassy’s condolence book, “We will not rest until we are certain that justice is done.”
Then he rested.
Actually, that’s not fair. Obama didn’t rest. He flew off to the West Coast on a busy fundraising trip.
The sad fact is that justice will not be done with respect to Putin or his executioners. Justice won’t be done in part because President Obama won’t lift a finger to do it. Indeed, a couple of days after the president’s edifying if passive formulation in the condolence book, Obama administration officials weren’t even pretending they had much intention of doing anything significant. Perhaps that’s what Obama meant when he promised Putin he’d have more “flexibility” after his reelection. Flexibility turns out to mean saying you won’t rest until justice is done—and then doing nothing. It means presenting to the world what Leo Strauss wrote of Weimar Germany, “the sorry spectacle of justice without a sword or of justice unable to use the sword.” Under the Obama administration, we are becoming Weimar America.
There is, on the other hand, one nation that is presenting to the world the bracing spectacle of justice able and willing to
use the sword: Israel. Israel is fighting a war against Islamic terror. Naturally the administration isn’t happy about this. As Obama explained to donors at a Democratic fundraiser in Seattle several hours after visiting the Dutch embassy, “Part of people’s concern is just the sense that around the world, the old order isn’t holding and we’re not quite where we need to be in terms of a new order that’s based on a different set of principles, that’s based on a sense of common humanity.”
Based presumably on that sense of “common humanity,” Secretary of State John Kerry was, as Obama spoke, flying around the Middle East trying to “mediate” between Hamas and Israel. It’s great to be on the side of “common humanity.” It protects you from the charge that in practice you often seem to be on the side of the terrorists. Such a charge would be unfair. The Obama administration isn’t on the side of the terrorists. It’s just not on the side of those fighting against terror. It’s in the middle, mediating between the forces of terror and the forces of civilization.
It’s unfortunate that America is saddled with a Weimar-type administration. We’ve done it to ourselves. But surely we are not really a Weimar-type country. It’s up to the Republican party to make this clear and save us from such a fate.
This is above all the task of the next Republican president. But it’s also the task of Republicans in Congress—especially if the GOP wins control of the Senate this fall. A Republican Congress can stop the free fall in defense spending and military capability. A Republican Congress can make it clear that Congress does not accept an executive-branch-only agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran that allows that terror-sponsoring regime to retain nuclear weapons capabilities, and that a Republican president in 2017 would not be bound by such an agreement. A Republican Congress can stand with Israel in ways that range from defunding terror-friendly elements of the United Nations to countering pressure on Israel to take damaging steps for the sake of a nonexistent (for now) two-state “solution.”
Above all, Republicans—even before November—can show they understand the world we live in. The Conservative governments of Stephen Harper in Canada and Tony Abbott in Australia seem to understand. Benjamin Netanyahu understands. What they understand was put well by Douglas Murray, writing in the London Spectator. Murray points out that Israel is
a nation which currently has to do what people in countries like this one . . . used to have to do but seem to have forgotten about: it has to fight for its survival. Israel is surrounded by enemies, as we have been for much of our history. But today we like to think that enemies are a thing of the past. There are no enemies, just phobias we haven’t been cured of yet.
A gap may well be emerging. But not because Israel has drifted away from the West. Rather because today in much of the West, as we bask in the afterglow of our achievements—eager to enjoy our rights, but unwilling to defend them—it is the West that is, slowly but surely, drifting away from itself.
The roots of Obama’s weakness abroad Aug 4, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 44 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
In 1983, Barack Obama was a senior at Columbia University. He was not well known. He lived off-campus, had a few close friends, and spent a lot of time reading. He went to some meetings of the Black Students Association, but no one remembers seeing him there. He majored in political science, with a concentration in international relations, and classmates and professors say he was an attentive and intelligent student.
Aug 4, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 44 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Moments of clarity often come when you least expect them. In a speech to contributors last week in Seattle, Barack Obama made the case that his presidency has made America better. In most respects, it was precisely the kind of political pablum you’d expect from a president who seems more concerned with legacy-polishing than governing. He ticked off his accomplishments, a list that was equal parts premature celebration (deficit reduction), hyperbole (Obamacare), and borrowed glory (rising college attendance, a strong stock market, increased energy production).
Hosted by Michael Graham.3:33 PM, Jul 21, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with senior writer Stephen F. Hayes on Obama, Putin, Ukraine, Netanyahu, Hamas, and Israel.
Jul 28, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 43 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Last February President Obama launched a new initiative to help “boys and young men of color” facing tough odds in life to stay on track and reach their full potential. At the time we observed in an editorial that there was a not-exactly-minor problem with “My Brother’s Keeper” (as the initiative was dubbed): its exclusionary nature. By “color,” the president meant black and brown, and by “boys and young men,” of course, he meant youthful males of those colors.
Counter ISIS without propping up Maliki.Jul 28, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 43 • By ABRAM N. SHULSKY, ERIC BROWN and HILLEL FRADKIN
Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki knows what he wants: a third term in office for himself and U.S. military help in defeating ISIS (now the Islamic State). Political reconciliation between Iraq’s Shiites and Sunnis, and between Arabs and Kurds, can wait. In the words of one of his colleagues in the State of Law Coalition: “Things on the ground are much more important.
Jul 21, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 42 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
Last week, Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, lashed out at President Obama over the border crisis. Since last fall, more than 40,000 unaccompanied minors, mostly from Central America, have been caught illegally trying to enter the country. Cuellar called Obama’s response “aloof,” “bizarre,” and “detached.” He might have added “predictable.”
Hosted by Michael Graham.9:00 AM, Jul 10, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with executive editor Fred Barnes on what Presidents Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton had--and President Obama doesn't.
Jul 14, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 41 • By TERRY EASTLAND
On a wide range of matters, including health care, energy, immigration, foreign policy, and education, says House speaker John Boehner, President Obama has ignored some statutes completely, selectively enforced others, and at times created laws of his own, thus failing to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed,” as Article II of the Constitution requires of a president.
What Obama’s descending job approval ratings mean for November. Jun 30, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 40 • By JAY COST
President Barack Obama’s job approval seems to be slipping again. After a brutal couple of months following the failed launch of HealthCare.gov, the Real Clear Politics average of opinion polls found his approval at 40 percent in December. But the government claimed to have fixed HealthCare.gov, never mind the continuing problems, and the “surge” in enrollments gave him a further boost. By mid-April, he was back up to nearly 45 percent approval in the RCP average.
Hosted by Michael Graham.4:45 PM, Jun 19, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with staff writer Michael Warren on President Obama's Iraq speech to the press.
Hosted by Michael Graham.5:18 PM, Jun 17, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
The WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with contributing editor and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations Max Boot on his recent story "Obama's Iraq."
Hosted by Michael Graham.
3:14 PM, Jun 6, 2014 • By TWS PODCAST
THE WEEKLY STANDARD Podcast with editor William Kristol on the political moment created by the Sgt. Bergdahl-Taliban 5 swap.
The monopartisan president. Jun 16, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 38 • By FRED BARNES
"My goal was to get something done,” President Obama said at a Chicago fundraiser in May. Yet he’s pursuing a strategy that makes it nearly impossible to achieve that. He’s not acting in his own interest.
The president refuses to deal with Republicans in Congress. He claims they’re committed, above all else, to obstructing his entire agenda. So he’s boycotting them, except on rare occasions when he summons Democratic and Republican leaders together to the White House for a formal meeting. That hasn’t occurred since April 3.