Tagged Walter Russell Mead

The War in Afghanistan and the Media’s Double Standards

Walter Russell Mead is properly scathing when it comes to his discussion of the media’s coverage of the war in Afghanistan. As he reminds us, back in 2008, candidate Obama ran on the position that Afghanistan was “the necessary war,” and that he would do whatever it took to win it. We haven’t won it, we are set to implement a precipitous withdrawal from the country, and because the incumbent president of the United States is not a Republican, the media is giving him no grief whatsoever regarding his administration’s failure in Afghanistan:

More on the Normalization of Relations with Cuba

Daniel Drezner has a very good primer on the issue. One of the strengths of his post is that it does not promise the sun, moon and stars for the United States in exchange for normalization. This, of course, is a good thing; no one should want to harbor unrealistic expectations for Cuban-American relations in the aftermath of normalization. But as Drezner’s piece makes clear, normalization is the best route for the United States to take: . . . while the benefits of catalytic carrots are not all that great, the status quo policy was worse. Way worse. It’s not like 50 years…

God Save the Queen

So, Scotland has gone to the polls, and it has decided to remain part of Great Britain. I had worried that nationalist sentiments and the perception of momentum behind Scottish independence might cause the people of Scotland to make a terrible decision; I am relieved to see that my fears were unfounded. Having written that, there can be no doubt that a great deal of national healing needs to take place in Scotland. This piece by Michael Ignatieff, which reflects on bad feelings that remain from the Quebec independence fight back in 1995, is a useful guide for Scots who…

Bruce Shipman Has Resigned

I know that I am late in reporting it, but here is the story; my original post on the matter can be found here, with a follow-up here. Amazingly enough, there are people who bemoan the fact that Shipman has been criticized for claiming that anti-Semitism is on the rise because of Israel’s actions in defending itself against Hamas’s aggression, and for stating that the only way for anti-Semitism to recede would be for Jewish people “Israel’s patrons” to pressure the Netanyahu government to act in a way that Bruce Shipman would find pleasing. Intellectually, I understand that there are any…

Today in Bad Russia-Ukraine News

Let’s go through the depressing details: “Novorossiya” is quite the ominous term. As pointed out by Walter Russell Mead and company, what Vladimir Putin tells a Russian audience is significantly more important than some vague agreement that supposedly is designed to reduce tensions, but in fact is actually designed to allow diplomats to say that they have worked to reduce tensions, without, you know, actually reducing tensions. Allegedly, there is a move to have Ukrainian Jews register their names and property holdings with pro-Russian militants, and pay a registration fee to boot. The State Department is convinced that the leaflets announcing the…

Things Are Very Bad in Ukraine and the Crimea

Let us just run down how bad: This story informs us that “Russian troops took over Crimea as the parliament in Moscow gave President Vladimir Putin a green light Saturday to use the military to protect Russian interests in Ukraine.” And if that weren’t bad enough, we are also told that “[t]he newly installed government in Kiev was powerless to react to the action by Russian troops based in the strategic region and more flown in, aided by pro-Russian Ukrainian groups.” Peter Baker points out that “the United States has few palatable options” when it comes to trying to prevent Russia from…

Obamacare Is Bringing Down the Obama Administration

With each passing day, the president’s signature legislative achievement is becoming more and more of a liability for him and for his administration, politically. (We leave aside for the moment the policy liability that it is and always has been for the country.) Josh Kraushaar invites us to contemplate the previously unthinkable scenario of Democrats (yes, you read that right. Democrats) urging the repeal of Obamacare: There’s nothing that Democrats want more than to change the subject from Obamacare, despite DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s protestations otherwise. Congressional Democrats don’t want to be dealing with a drip-drip of news about premiums…

Remember that We Are Not Supposed to Worry about Any of This. At All.

So much for being able to keep your health care plan in the event that you like it: United Parcel Service has told its white-collar employees that it will stop providing health care coverage to their spouses who can obtain coverage through their own employers, joining an increasing number of companies that are restricting or eliminating spousal health benefits. U.P.S., the world’s largest package delivery company, said its decision was prompted in part by “costs associated with” the federal health care law that is commonly called Obamacare. Several health care experts, however, said they believed the company was motivated by a desire to…

Is Egypt Really “Transition[ing] to Democracy”?

Walter Russell Mead notes President Obama’s statement on the coup in Egypt, and the following passage from that statement in particular: No transition to democracy comes without difficulty, but in the end it must stay true to the will of the people. An honest, capable and representative government is what ordinary Egyptians seek and what they deserve. The longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt is based on shared interests and values, and we will continue to work with the Egyptian people to ensure that Egypt’s transition to democracy succeeds. Quite properly, Mead pounces: One hopes the President understands…

Is Obamacare Affordable?

There has been some celebrating on the port side ever since stories like this one came out, indicating that premium costs associated with the Affordable Care Act–Obamacare–are, well, affordable. We are to believe that  [b]ased on the premiums that insurers have submitted for final regulatory approval, the majority of Californians buying coverage on the state’s new insurance exchange will be paying less—in many cases, far less—than they would pay for equivalent coverage today. And while a minority will still end up writing bigger premium checks than they do now, even they won’t be paying outrageous amounts. Meanwhile, all of these consumers will…