Roundup: Media's Take
This is where we excerpt articles from the media that take a historical approach to events in the news.
SOURCE: WaPo (9-6-12)
David Ignatius writes a twice-a-week foreign affairs for The Washington Post.
SOURCE: Irish Times (9-5-12)
Lindsey Hilsum is international editor of Channel 4. She appearing at the Mountains to the Sea Festival at the Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, at noon next Sunday. Her book Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution has been longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.
SOURCE: LA Times (8-31-12)
Michael Kinsley, a former editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times, is a Bloomberg View columnist.
SOURCE: American Spectator (9-5-12)
Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy for the Heartland Institute, General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union, and Senior Fellow for the National Center for Policy Analysis. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under the first President Bush. He is the author of America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb (HarperCollins).
SOURCE: National Interest (9-5-12)
Bruce Fein was a senior policy adviser to the Ron Paul 2012 Presidential Campaign and is author of American Empire Before The Fall.
SOURCE: Financial Times (UK) (9-4-12)
The writers are a former US deputy assistant secretary of defence and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council.
SOURCE: National Interest (9-5-12)
Robert G. Rabil served as a chief of emergency for the Red Cross in Lebanon during the country's civil war. He is associate professor of political science and the LLS Distinguished Professor of Current Events at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of Syria, United States and the War on Terror in the Middle East and most recently Religion, National Identity and Confessional Politics in Lebanon: The Challenge of Islamism.
Arab uprisings have greatly affected the political landscape of the Middle East. Gone is the era when autocratic or totalitarian rulers unilaterally decided their approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict. New and surviving political actors are now sensitive to their public's sentiments toward the Palestinian question, which runs deep in the collective consciousness of the Arabs. The Arab uprisings have foregrounded the Palestinian cause in the region’s politics, but it has remained secondary to immediate Arab concerns about the Syrian crisis and its implications for the region. In Washington, this has fed an impression that the fall of the Syrian regime would disrupt the Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah-Hamas axis—on Israel, the thinking goes, their hands would be tied.
This Beltway conventional wisdom has serious flaws and implications for U.S. policy making. Broadly speaking, the uprising in Syria has compelled Hamas to begin steering away from Damascus—and by extension Tehran—and turn instead toward Egypt and Jordan. But this development cannot be misconstrued as a collapse or even a severe disruption of the Iranian-led rejectionist axis, which is constantly reinventing and adapting itself to changing conditions in the Middle East.
Hamas’s New Role
There is a growing consensus among Arab political elites, especially Islamists, that, after years of ineffectual negotiations and in a climate where Israelis are anxious about the implications of Arab uprisings for their security, Israel has all but abandoned the concept of the two-state solution in favor of the status quo. Neither Arab regimes nor Islamists can swallow this bitter pill. Nor will they pursue policies inimical to Hamas and favorable to Israel. While Jordan and Saudi Arabia have a national interest in resuming the peace process, the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (and its affiliates in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Gaza) have a superficial interest in resuming the peace process, if only to conceal their immediate strategy—to reduce Egypt's and Jordan's economic and security cooperation with Israel—until the Syrian crisis is over. This strategy was described to me by an influential member of the Muslim Brotherhood....
SOURCE: National Review (9-10-12)
...[T]he problem [with the New Deal] was that what most of the country thought of as the ceiling, the progressive faction continued to see as the floor. They talked of the New Deal’s “unfinished business” and kept on seeking a hero to take care of it, believing that history moves to the left and that progressive eras are followed by times of consolidation, which in turn are followed by times of still further action, in which the country will move left again. Lyndon Johnson tried to fulfill this hope, but his excesses set off a whole new dynamic, consisting of liberal overreach, a conservative backlash against it, and then a moment of more-or-less moderation — to be followed, once memories faded, by liberal excess again. This was back-and-forth alternation, instead of progress in a single direction interrupted with pauses. Johnson’s Great Society ran into a wall in the 1966 midterms, and then spawned a run of Republican presidents....
Clinton, after running as a moderate against the moderate George H. W. Bush, got carried away and tried to pass a health-care reform that spawned the Republican capture of Congress. Clinton then triangulated his way back to the center, permitting (or forcing) the younger George Bush to run as a compassionate conservative. After this, Obama won in a landslide after the fiscal implosion, made a swerve to the left sharper than Bill Clinton’s, and triggered the Tea Party’s rise. This led to the Democrats’ drubbing in the 2010 midterms, which progressives saw as racist, fascist, hateful, and simply vicious, but which was in fact completely predictable and similar to what had happened quite often before....
In 1933, government had to get bigger. Now it has to reform, devolve, cut back, and control itself, before it shoves us off the cliff into catastrophe. This is why “the new FDR” is now in such trouble — and why the search for the next one will end in more tears.
Masha Gessen is a journalist in Moscow. She is the author of “The Man Without a Face,” a biography of Vladimir Putin.
...The first day of September, often referred to as The Day of Knowledge, is the day when classes begin in schools across [Russia]. The morning usually starts with a school assembly during which 11th-graders (the oldest students) take the first-graders by the hand and lead them into the school while ringing a ceremonial bell.
That is a rite of passage that has painlessly made the transition from the Soviet to the post-Soviet era. Other rituals have proved trickier. According to one tradition, a local World War II veteran has to address the assembly; 67 years after the end of the war, few able-bodied veterans remain, but local authorities scramble to find them and deliver them to both public and private institutions.
Back in the day, Communist Party representatives used to address the assemblies as well. Now some schools have replaced them with Russian Orthodox priests who lead the groups in prayer in clear violation of the Constitution, which guarantees separation of church and state. I know of only one case in which a parent took the school to task — he succeeded in stopping the prayer services....
SOURCE: NYT (9-1-12)
Ross Douthat is a columnist for the New York Times.
THE last time the United States held a presidential election amid the mass unemployment left in a financial crisis’s wake, the challenger offered only a partial glimpse of what he would actually do in office. Mostly, he played the opportunist, attacking the incumbent party for spending too much and helping too little, for being indifferent to human suffering and for failing to balance the budget, for overtaxing and undertaxing and everywhere in between. He claimed to be offering a bold contrast of visions, but mostly he just relied on the unemployment rate to do his work for him.
That challenger was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His 1932 convention speech — the first ever delivered by a nominee in person — was more detailed than the parade of generalities Mitt Romney offered last Thursday. But mostly it was a sprawl of unpersuasive economic analysis and highly convenient criticisms of the hapless Herbert Hoover. Hearing it or reading it, you would have known that F.D.R. intended to govern as some sort of liberal, as you would know from Romney’s speech that he intends to govern as a conservative. But you would be able to anticipate only the broadest outlines of the policy experimentation that ultimately defined the New Deal....
Joe Nocera is a columnist for the New York Times.
...There is a reason journalists began flocking to conventions once upon a time. Up until 1960, they were the exact opposite of what they are now. Rather than an exercise in public relations, they were essentially a huge fight, with cajoling and horse-trading and balloting that could go on into the wee hours. Conventions, not primaries, were the process by which the parties selected their nominees for president and vice president.
Here was Franklin Roosevelt in 1932, winning the nomination on the fourth ballot in a tense all-night session. Here was his opponent in 1940, Wendell Willkie, winning the Republican nomination in dramatic fashion on the sixth ballot. Here was Adlai Stevenson in 1956 deciding to let the convention choose between two senators, John F. Kennedy and Estes Kefauver, as his vice-presidential candidate. “It kept going back and forth,” recalls Charlie Peters, the founding editor of The Washington Monthly. “It was very exciting.”
Henry Brady, the dean of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley — and an expert on political conventions — says that he thinks the last truly meaningful convention was 1968. “There was still a sense that the convention was a decision-making body,” he said....
Frank Bruni is a columnist for the New York Times.
...The office of the vice presidency seems to addle many occupants, and that goes back centuries before Cheney. In Aaron Burr’s final year as the country’s third vice president, he killed Alexander Hamilton, his political rival, in a duel.
Thomas Marshall, who served under Woodrow Wilson, was utterly sidelined during the many months after a stroke left the president bedridden. The first lady ran the show. He felt so understandably marginalized in his job that he said: “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea. The other was elected vice president. And nothing was ever heard of either of them again.”
F.D.R.’s first vice president, John Nance Garner, famously characterized the job as not being worth “a warm bucket” of urine, which was euphemized in the retelling as “spit.” Hubert Humphrey saw his favor among liberals shredded by his loyalty to L.B.J., who got us deeper and deeper into Vietnam....
SOURCE: National Review (9-4-12)
Noemie Emery is a contributing editor of The Weekly Standard and writes a weekly column for the Washington Examiner.
SOURCE: National Review (8-30-12)
Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist.
SOURCE: WSJ (9-3-12)
Mr. Colmes is a liberal political commentator, author and host of "The Alan Colmes Show" on Fox News Radio. His book Thank the Liberals . . . For Saving America has just been published by Hay House.
SOURCE: Salt Lake Tribune (8-31-12)
Matt Apuzzo is on AP's investigative team in Washington, where he focuses primarily on national security and intelligence matters.
SOURCE: NYT (9-2-12)
SOURCE: New York Post (8-29-12)
Nicole Gelinas is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.
SOURCE: NYT (8-28-12)