A strange way to honor the founding fathers

Posted by , 3rd December 2010

Founding FathersDana Milbank
12/2/2010

Republicans led by Bob Bishop and Eric Cantor are introducing a constitutional amendment that would allow states to reject and repeal federal laws that they find objectionable. Improbably, the party brought to power by virtue of the Tea Party’s brand of constitutional originalism is making its first order of business a rather severe edit of the same. The mechanics of the bill would allow the smallest 33 states with a third of the nation’s population to nullify federal law for the 17 largest, comprising two thirds.

Milbank writes about political theater in the nation’s capital.

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The Good Life With David Cameron

Posted by , 30th November 2010

David CameronJamie Whyte
11/30/2010

Whyte criticizes British PM David Cameron’s request that the Office of National Statistics construct a survey-based measure of the country’s general well-being. They will publish their first findings in the summer of 2012. If “happy” means only that you have satisfied your desires, then it is trivially true that people seek only happiness, notes Whyte. Cameron claims to reject governmental interference in favor of individual liberty. His taste for industrial policy, nationalized health care, compulsory charity, and population control make some doubt him. Whyte concludes that no one with a shred of liberal principle could think it the state’s proper job to specify the nature of “the good life” and then design policies that get people to live it.

Whyte is a management consultant and author of “Crimes Against Logic” (McGraw Hill, 2004).

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Why North Korea Survives

Posted by , 30th November 2010

Kim Jong IlEdward Luttwak
11/30/2010

Luttwak considers the means by which the government in Pyongyang survives. China props up the Kim regime, South Korea is feckless, and the US is tied down militarily. He argues that nothing is achieved with the North by issuing solemn warnings and indignant declarations; mere words do not impress the hard-bitten North Korean regime. But former President Carter has done us a great service. As usual, we need only do the exact opposite of what he recommends, this time by rejecting talks with the Kim dictatorship until (at a minimum) it makes full amends for its most recent crimes. Nothing will be lost since all past negotiations have proven futile, and the US will avoid rewarding North Korean aggression.

Luttwak, a senior associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, is the author of “Strategy: The Logic of War and Peace” (Belknap, 2002).

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WikiLeaks provides the truth Bush obscured

Posted by , 30th November 2010

Julian AssangeRichard Cohen
11/30/2010

While abhorrent in many respects, this week’s Wikilinks leak serves as a stark contrast and counterbalance to President Bush’s book, “Decision Points.” The war with Iraq predictably handed influence in that country to Iran and thereby rearranged the region’s political balance. The various Arab governments and our own remain involved in a far messier debate over how to proceed than is evidenced in the former president’s memoir, which strains credulity in the harsh light of day.

Cohen is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on domestic and foreign politics.

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In Haiti, Waiting for the Grand Bayakou

Posted by , 29th November 2010

HaitiAmy Wilentz
11/26/2010

In Haiti a bayakou is a mysterious workman that is never seen but is hired through a middleman to come and clean latrines. Wilentz likens the new president of Haiti, who stands to be elected this Sunday, to a bayakou, with the myriad problems facing the nation. She says tragedy keeps outside aid coming, and Haitian leaders have been traditionally only good at enriching themselves. Combined with an environment where ordinary citizens are concerned with survival rather than government reform and increasingly distrustful of the outside world, the diaspora may have a greater role in the election. More likely, she says the outcome of the election will be no outcome, with a low voter turnout, a runoff election, and business as usual in Haiti.

Wilentz is the author of “The Rainy Season: Haiti, Then and Now.”

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In Ireland’s debt crisis, an ominous reckoning for Europe

Posted by , 29th November 2010

Flag IrelandRobert Samuelson
11/29/2010

Ireland’s bailout highlights serious dangers in the coming years for Europe as a whole. The Euro currency and centralized monetary policy prevented Ireland from taking a more proactive stance toward its economic health, and the same will hold true for Spain, Portugal, and other struggling economies. Social program spending in Ireland and in Europe as a whole has moved beyond being merely an economic challenge to being a political menace. The change that must occur to stabilize the economic outlook will not come without considerable turmoil.

Samuelson is a weekly columnist for The Post, writing on political, economic and social issues.

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The Emperor’s Nuclear Clothes

Posted by , 29th November 2010

Nuclear bomb smokeStephen Peter Rosen
11/29/2010

If we deploy American military power, Rosen says we must do it like we mean it. The US needs to increase its ability to conduct non-nuclear war from undersea, from ships out of range of missile attack, and from bases on American soil by means of long-range missiles and aircraft, manned or unmanned, over the next 10 years. Rosen goes on to argue that the US must increase its ability to use cyber warfare and other unconventional means and to defend itself from retaliatory attacks in kind. Just as importantly, it must allow its allies to acquire the weapons systems and even nuclear weapons they need for their own defense. This will not be cheap, but it will be less expensive if we help our democratic allies arm themselves by transferring technologies to them, by working with them, and by encouraging them to help each other.

Rosen is professor of national security and military affairs at Harvard.

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Who Assassinated Rafik Hariri?

Posted by , 26th November 2010

rafikEdward Jay Epstein
11/26/2010

A UN investigation may soon implicate Hezbollah in the murder of the former Lebanese prime minister, says Epstein. If the agents of Syria or Iran are ultimately named by the UN’s special tribunal, the half-decade delay in justice for Hariri’s murder may be little more than a prelude. Syria and Hezbollah, which both possess the power to destroy Lebanon’s fragile government, will almost certainly denounce such a finding and shift the blame–as Hezbollah has already suggested–to their convenient bete noire: Israel. Such allegations and recriminations, meaningless as they may be, could drag on for another half-decade, if not longer.

Epstein, an investigative reporter, is currently completing a book on the 9/11 Commission.

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If you’re grateful, pay more taxes

Posted by , 26th November 2010

ThanksgivingMatt Miller
11/25/2010

The anti-tax rhetoric has reached a fever pitch, and the Thanksgiving holiday allows us a moment to pause and consider a different mode of response. Given the considerable sacrifice made by our armed services and the invaluable benefits of a distinctly American culture and history, citizens should consider a reasonable tax burden as a worthy investment back into the nation’s ongoing maturity. Restoring the marginal tax rate on top earners will not be sufficient to deflect the growing debts from foreign wars and social services, but it is a necessary first step to stabilizing the national debt.

Miller is a weekly columnist for The Post’s online edition.

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