Posted in 2020 Election SPECIAL REPORTS

The Outrageous Assault on the Knights of Columbus

Kamala Harris is set to announce her candidacy for president sometime around Martin Luther King Jr. Day. What sort of chief executive would she be? Well, here’s your first clue: On December 5, Harris posed a series of written questions to Brian Buescher, President Trump’s nominee for District Court in Nebraska. The third question reads as follows:

Since 1993, you have been a member of the Knights of Columbus, an all-male society comprised primarily of Catholic men. In 2016, Carl Anderson, leader of the Knights of Columbus, described abortion as ‘a legal regime that has resulted in more than 40 million deaths.’ Mr. Anderson went on to say that ‘abortion is the killing of the innocent on a massive scale.’ Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?

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Posted in 2020 Election Nancy Pelosi SPECIAL REPORTS

The Coming Democratic Disillusion

On Thursday, after eight years in the minority, Nancy Pelosi returned to power as speaker of the House of Representatives. Her party controls 235 seats to the Republicans’ 199. One contest, in North Carolina, has yet to be decided. The Democratic majority is just a couple seats larger than the one Pelosi led more than a decade ago. Back then a Republican resided in the White House as well. By the seventh year of his presidency, when some 100 U.S soldiers were killed in Iraq every month and gas on average cost $2.80 per gallon, George W. Bush was about as popular as Donald Trump is today. And in 2007, as we all remember, Pelosi’s Democrats set about enacting universal health care and ending the war in Iraq.

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Posted in 2020 Election Nancy Pelosi SPECIAL REPORTS

The Coming Democratic Disillusion

On Thursday, after eight years in the minority, Nancy Pelosi returned to power as speaker of the House of Representatives. Her party controls 235 seats to the Republicans’ 199. One contest, in North Carolina, has yet to be decided. The Democratic majority is just a couple seats larger than the one Pelosi led more than a decade ago. Back then a Republican resided in the White House as well. By the seventh year of his presidency, when some 100 U.S soldiers were killed in Iraq every month and gas on average cost $2.80 per gallon, George W. Bush was about as popular as Donald Trump is today. And in 2007, as we all remember, Pelosi’s Democrats set about enacting universal health care and ending the war in Iraq.

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Posted in SPECIAL REPORTS

Shinzo Abe’s World

TOKYO—”I would like to congratulate you on your historic victory in the midterm election in the United States,” Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Donald Trump during the recent G20 summit. Mentions of the remark occasioned knowing smiles here during a recent study trip sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The election might not have been, strictly speaking, a “historic victory” for Trump—Republicans lost some 40 seats and control of the House of Representatives while adding two seats to their Senate majority—but Japanese voters are nonetheless aware of Abe’s intention. He wants to be Trump’s friend. More importantly, he needs to be.

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Posted in China SPECIAL REPORTS

The Great Wall of Democracy

OKINAWA—I’ve had to wait on the tarmac for planes ahead of mine to take off before, but never F-15s. Naha airport here shares a runway with Japan’s Air Self Defense Forces, leading to delays whenever Japanese fighters scramble to counter Chinese incursions into the airspace above the Senkaku Island Chain in the East China Sea. The pace of such incursions has accelerated over the last half decade. The Japanese scrambled a high of 1,168 times in 2016, mostly in response to Chinese activity. The sight of active afterburners on a U.S. commercial runway would be shocking. In Okinawa, it’s everyday life.

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Posted in POLITICS Ronald Reagan SPECIAL REPORTS

Continetti in Claremont Review: Behind the Reagan Doctrine

Over at the Claremont Review of Books, I have a review of Laurence Jurdem’s evenhanded and comprehensive study Paving the Way for Reagan. It’s a look at three conservative periodicals—Human Events, National Review, and Commentary—and how they influenced the development of Ronald Reagan’s worldview. Here’s the lead:

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Posted in Uncategorized

‘Genuine Civil War Potential’

“Few who met Willmoore Kendall ever forgot him,” George Nash once wrote. The same can be said of those who read him. Every summer, in my class on the conservative intellectual movement for the Hertog Political Studies Program, I look forward to the day when my students encounter Kendall for the first time. Let us just say his defense of Joseph McCarthy, drawn from his 1963 book The Conservative Affirmation, arouses strong reactions.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Why NATO Matters

President Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, has opened another round of debate on the purpose and future of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Since assuming office, Trump has moved away from his earlier position that NATO is obsolete, preferring instead to highlight the disparity between U.S. defense expenditures (3.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product) and those of other signatories to the treaty, especially Germany (1.2 percent). Indeed, Trump rightly views the commitments of NATO powers to increase defense spending as one of the ways he has strengthened the alliance.

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Posted in Uncategorized

No ‘Grand Bargain’ with Putin

The national security adviser was ecstatic. The presidents of the United States and of Russia had agreed to a ceasefire in Syria, where years of civil war had killed some half a million people and created refugees of millions more. “The United States remains committed to defeating ISIS, helping to end the conflict in Syria, reducing suffering, and enabling people to return to their homes,” the national security adviser said. “This agreement is an important step toward these common goals.” Southwest Syria would become a zone of “de-confliction.” Among the provinces covered by the agreement: Daraa.

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Posted in Barack Obama Democratic Party SPECIAL REPORTS

Who Killed the Center-Left?

The victory of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over longtime Democratic congressman Joe Crowley of New York inspired some hysterical punditry. We were told that the 28,000 people that voted in a district of more than 600,000 had decided the fate of the political universe. Ocasio-Cortez, in this telling, heralds the coming of Democratic Socialist, multiracial, female-dominated America. The 28-year-old bartender and community activist is the Democrat of the future—according to no less an authority than the chairman of the Democratic National Committee. And in a polarized media climate, with hyperbolic insinuations of “civil war” and calls for the harassment of political opponents, one is tempted to believe that romanticism and extremism grow ever stronger.

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Posted in China North Korea SPECIAL REPORTS

The Real Summit

The Singapore summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un had drama, imagery, pomp and circumstance, even a Hollywood-style promotional video. There were promises of denuclearization and hopes for a new relationship between the United States and North Korea. What was missing, however, were the specific details and concrete actions necessary to achieve such lofty goals. That work began at a less remarked on, but perhaps more important, meeting in Beijing two days later. Between Mike Pompeo and Xi Jinping.

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Posted in North Korea SPECIAL REPORTS

What Kim Is

“This will not be just a photo op,” President Trump said Thursday of his meeting next week with Kim Jong Un. “This will be—at a minimum, we’ll start with, perhaps, a good relationship. And that’s something that’s very important toward the ultimate making of a good deal.” Later that day the president added that he might, if things go well, invite Kim to visit him in the United States, perhaps even at the White House. “He has also discussed [possibly] golfing with Kim,” a “senior Trump administration official” told the Daily Beast.

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Posted in Barack Obama SPECIAL REPORTS

The World As It Wasn’t

Maybe you can help me out. I’m puzzling over a line in a New York Times story on The World As It Is, the forthcoming memoir from Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes. The article, by Peter Baker, is about the parts of Rhodes’s book that deal with Donald Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton.

“In the weeks after Mr. Trump’s election,” Baker reports, “Mr. Obama went through multiple emotional stages,” including flashes of “anger,” “rare self-doubt,” and taking “the long view.” Do not think, however, that during the final weeks of his presidency Barack Obama was withdrawn or more self-obsessed than usual. People needed him. The day after the election, Baker continues, “Mr. Obama focused on cheering up his despondent staff.”

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