Saturday December 07, 2013
September 12th, 2013
It's a bewildering time here.
Nancy Pelosi is the hawk urging military action. Britain refuses to be our poodle. The French are being less supercilious and more supportive militarily. Republicans are squeamish about launching an attack. Top generals are going pacifist.
For a notoriously cautious politician, Barack Obama has taken a major gamble on his presidency in deciding to put his promised attack on Syria on hold, and then asking Congress for authority to go ahead.
President Barack Obama, though he artfully articulated the need to respond to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, is haunted by his own actions and words, as well as those of the man he succeeded.
With no good options, the president made a persuasive case over the weekend for taking action against the "heinous" crime of chemical warfare, and assured a war-weary nation that any military mission would be "limited in duration and scope."
The Obama team has clearly struggled with its Syria policy, but, in fairness, this is a wickedly complex problem. We need a policy response that simultaneously deters another Syrian poison gas attack, doesn't embroil the United States in the Syrian civil war and also doesn't lead to the sudden collapse of the Syrian state with all its chemical weapons, or, worse, a strengthening of the Syrian regime and its allies Hezbollah and Iran.
One concern about having millions more Americans covered by health insurance is the relative dearth of primary-care physicians.
Some have used that as a reason to say we shouldn’t insure so many Americans. You know, those who have it ought to have it, and those who can’t ought to have squat.
I'm half a world from home, in a city I've never explored, with fresh sights and sounds around every corner. And what am I doing?
I'm watching exactly the kind of television program I might watch in my Manhattan apartment.
You know how you can get all wrapped up in a good summer novel and have to remind yourself where you are when you put it down?
Well, America has made it pretty hard this past week to remind myself that we do not, in fact, live in the brutal 18th-century society I'm reading about, where rape is unacknowledged and young women are treated as disposable.
Nina Munk's new book, "The Idealist," is about the well-known economist Jeffrey Sachs and his "quest to end poverty," as the subtitle puts it. I know: That subtitle sounds like classic book-industry hyperbole, but, in this case, it's not. That really is what Sachs has been trying to do. The question of whether or not he is succeeding is where things get tricky.
In the further annals of reasons never to bring a child into the barren wasteland of history in which we currently dwell, New York Magazine has a feature on media elites who stake out social-media profiles for their babies.