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Archive of Articles in the "Military" Category

Snap Reactions To The Seventh Democratic Debate

[ Posted Wednesday, January 15th, 2020 – 00:12 UTC ]

To use a sports metaphor, we're right at the end of the pre-season and about to start the actual games that count. Tonight was the last presidential debate between the Democratic candidates before Iowa votes in its caucuses. From now on, in each subsequent debate, we'll know not just who is up in the public opinion polling, but who has done better at the actual polls, where voters cast their ballots for the Democratic nomination.

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Friday Talking Points -- The Madman Theory, Personified

[ Posted Friday, January 10th, 2020 – 18:29 UTC ]

We've said it before and we're sure we'll have to say it again before the year's out, but President Trump is the personification of what Richard Nixon used to call the "Madman Theory" of foreign policy. Back then, it was a bluff -- if Nixon acted crazy enough, then perhaps the North Vietnamese would think he was so crazy he might just drop a nuclear bomb on them. This would tend to restrain them more than if they were sure he wouldn't.

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Precedent Trump

[ Posted Thursday, January 9th, 2020 – 18:23 UTC ]

Today, I'd like to step back from a day-to-day analysis of Donald Trump's actions in order to look at a slightly bigger picture. Because at this point, it almost seems like we should all start calling him "Precedent Trump," since he is setting so many of them for future presidents to either use or abuse at will. Republicans who now slavishly insist upon supporting anything and everything Trump does -- no matter how outrageous, no matter how disruptive -- should be warned that future presidents (Democratic ones most definitely included) may one day point to current GOP behavior while insisting that they have exactly the same rights that Trump has claimed for himself. Because this is always the ultimate test of supporting any expansion of presidential powers: would you support a president of the other party doing such a thing? Again, Republicans would do well to consider this in the Trump era, because it's my guess that some of these precedents are going to come back to bite them later on. And it'll be pretty tough for them to argue against these precedents after so wholeheartedly supporting them now.

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Looking Forward To A Democratic Foreign Policy Debate

[ Posted Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 – 18:14 UTC ]

The next Democratic presidential debate is going to almost have to focus intensely on questions of foreign policy. No matter what anyone had planned previously, the situation almost demands it now. So far, the debates have been remarkably light on foreign policy, which has allowed almost all the candidates to utter platitudes about the type of world they'd like to see as president, without delving too far into any specifics about what they'd do as president at all (except perhaps on minor differences between the candidates' policies). This is no longer good enough, as we all wait to see what happens next with Iran.

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Today's Two Big Stories

[ Posted Monday, January 6th, 2020 – 18:26 UTC ]

There are two major stories in the political world today, without a whole lot of overlap. They both have foreign policy in common, and the outcome of both is unpredictable at this point. Other than that they are entirely separate stories, so we're going to handle them separately rather than trying to tie them together in any way. The bigger story by far is Donald Trump's assassination of a major Iranian military figure as well as an Iraqi militia leader. This could have far-reaching consequences across the Middle East, obviously. The second story is that John Bolton is apparently ready to spill the beans on Trump, as long as the Senate "forces" him to by issuing a subpoena.

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Friday Talking Points -- On The Brink

[ Posted Friday, January 3rd, 2020 – 18:23 UTC ]

As we sit down to write this, America is on the brink... of a lot of things, all at once. Largest among these: we are now on the brink of another war in the Middle East, this time with Iran. We could also be on the brink of a North Korean nuclear test or I.C.B.M. launch, which would probably signal a disastrous end to the Trump diplomatic bromance with Kim Jong Un. We're on the brink of a presidential impeachment trial in the Senate -- only the third one in our entire history. We're on the brink of a presidential primary season. And we're on the brink of a new political decade. All are pretty momentous, meaning that 2020 could turn out to be even more chaotic than the three years which preceded it. There's a scary (or just plain exhausting) thought, indeed.

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My 2019 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 2]

[ Posted Friday, December 27th, 2019 – 19:41 UTC ]

Welcome back to the second and final installment of our year-end awards columns! If you missed last week's column, you should probably check that out, too.

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My 2019 "McLaughlin Awards" [Part 1]

[ Posted Friday, December 20th, 2019 – 19:05 UTC ]

Welcome back once again to our year-end "McLaughlin Awards," named for the awards categories we lifted from the McLaughlin Report years ago. We've added a category here and there over time, but it's still the same basic list.

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Post-Debate Reactions

[ Posted Thursday, December 19th, 2019 – 23:12 UTC ]

Tonight we saw the sixth in the series of Democratic presidential debates, and my first and strongest impression is that I for one am glad the field is being narrowed. Seven on the stage was enough, in other words, for me.

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Friday Talking Points -- Snowflake-In-Chief Not Person Of The Year, Sorry

[ Posted Friday, December 13th, 2019 – 18:17 UTC ]

And so we come to the close of the most momentous week in Washington of the year. In one week's time, we've seen articles of impeachment move to the floor of the House of Representatives, an agreement between House Democrats and the White House to move forward on the U.S./Mexico/Canada Agreement, a truce declared in the budget battles (that had threatened to shut down the government once again), Democrats agreeing to the creation of the "Space Force" in exchange for paid family leave for federal workers, a tentative trade cease-fire declared with China, the Senate unanimously backing up the overwhelming vote in the House to declare the Armenian genocide for what it was, the release of an inspector general's report that totally debunked most of the conspiracy theories about the initiation of the counterintelligence operation at the edges of the 2016 Trump campaign, President Trump being forced to pay a $2 million fine for misuse of his own charitable foundation, and the House passing a landmark bill to fight the greed of drug companies by finally using the federal government's buying power to force lower prices on prescription medication. Again: all of these rather large things happened in a single week.

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