Best columns: The U.S.
Obama’s premature Peace Prize
Sohrab Ahmari The Wall Street Journal
Seven years later, President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is an embarrassment, said Sohrab Ahmari. When Obama accepted the honor after less than a year in office with trademark eloquence, “the philosopherpresident was the toast of Europe.” The Nobel Committee swooned over Obama’s lofty “transnationalism,” whereby all states would submit to “norms drawn up by law professors and global organizations” and the U.S. would retreat from its dominant role on the world stage. The results of “a humbler Washington” are on brutal display in Aleppo, where Syria’s genocidal president Bashar al-Assad and his Russian allies— emboldened by American inaction—are “setting women and children alight with incendiary ordnance.” Millions of refugees fleeing Syria’s violent disintegration have flooded into Europe, shattering the EU’s unity. As Russian dictator Vladimir Putin expands his influence, his pilots brazenly menace the airspaces of France, Norway, Spain, and the U.K. Obama and his admirers on the Nobel Committee thought that if the U.S. stopped its meddling, the world could deal with evil through diplomacy and negotiation. Now, thanks to Obama’s “endless patience for rogues,” Europe is being destabilized and Syrians are being slaughtered. Some peace.
Celebrities do get away with sexual assault
Lovia Gyarkye NewRepublic.com
Donald Trump is right: “Famous men can do whatever they want to women,” said Lovia Gyarkye. When Trump boasted in the now infamous video that he could “do anything” to women and get away with it because he’s “a star,” he was just revealing a sad reality. Roman Polanski drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl, escaped prosecution, and later won “an Academy Award to a standing ovation.” Kobe Bryant’s reputation took only a brief hit after he paid off a civil suit from a 19-year-old hotel employee who said he’d raped her. For decades, Bill Cosby got away with numerous sexual assaults, dismissing his accusers as unstable women who were after his money. “The list goes on and on.” Right now, New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose is embroiled in a civil suit for allegedly gang-raping an unconscious ex-girlfriend with two buddies. His defense: She wanted it. The main concern of the team and its fans “appears to be how this will affect Rose’s play.” In our culture, allegations of sexual assault against a male celebrity are viewed as an “inconvenient obstacle” to be overcome, “rather than the gravest of accusations.” Trump’s boast about how famous, powerful men can treat women “is a reflection of who we are.”
The GOP’s future after Trump
David Frum The Atlantic
After Donald Trump goes down to defeat, how do Republicans rebuild their party? asked David Frum. Many conservatives are arguing that the GOP needs to return to its pre-Trump principles of small government, tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, free trade, and deep cuts in entitlement programs. But Trump’s takeover of the GOP “exposed the weakness” of this 1980s-style conservative ideology. As awful as Trump is “as a candidate and human being,” he accurately saw that “millions of Americans who do not deserve to be dismissed as bigots were sick of the happy talk” about immigration, globalization, and trickle-down economics, and had become deeply pessimistic about their future. He saw that working-class voters felt abandoned by the big-money elites in both parties who control Washington. After the election, Trump voters will not suddenly decide they were wrong about all this, so Republicans had better find a way to address the real anxieties the billionaire showman cunningly exploited—which have also given rise to the Brexit and nationalist movements in Europe. “The way to r espond to a political tide is not to command it to halt, but to divert and channel it.”