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Probe must say if Trump effort aided by Russia

The president-elect should pledge to cooperate fully and demand his staff and advisers do so as well. Otherwise, he will convey to voters that he is unserious about Russian espionage and/or has something to hide.

Tillerson right not to call Putin a war criminal

While we can understand why Rubio would ask if the Russian president is a war criminal, there is a multitude of reasons Tillerson is right to exercise caution before jumping to such conclusions before he even enters office.

Hysteria aplenty at the Sessions hearing

There is a well-established connection between moral panic over disfavored behaviors and laws that produce grotesque injustices. What boggles the mind is how this clear causation seems to elude lawmakers even in the midst of a conversation about the enforcement of federal law.


OPINION

The probe of Comey is exactly what US needs

The impact of Comey’s actions can never be definitively known. But it is important, for the Justice Department and for the country, to obtain a detailed accounting of what happened and why; to assign blame where it is warranted; and to understand how similar situations can be prevented.


OPINION

Malls’ decline a blow to small businesses

Online and mobile enterprises make our day-to-day lives much more convenient. But they also shake up the lives of those using old business models.


OPINION

Convenient omissions from Obama’s farewell

Despite the president’s attempt to suggest otherwise, America is not better off and the world is not a safer place after his eight years in office.

OPINION

We need to root out truth on Russia

I’d suggest four questions to clear the haze of allegation and recrimination that surrounds President-elect Donald Trump and our intelligence agencies a week before his inauguration.


OPINION

Trump hasn’t solved any of his conflicts of interest

By turning the operations of the company over to family and executives while retaining full ownership, Trump leaves himself open to charges that his decisions as president are calculated to benefit his own financial well-being.


OPINION

Fans see meritocracy on and off the field

Winners succeed, sports tell us, because they work hard.

OPINION

Is plagiarism an unpardonable sin anymore?

Some pundits have argued that, as infractions go, plagiarism is overrated.


OPINION

Trump ignores risk of embracing Putin

It would be a profound historical irony, and a profound historical tragedy, if a President Trump were to cozy up to Putin’s Russia at the expense of democracy and self-determination for Europe and other regions.


OPINION

Let Dems’ desperation antics fail on their own

Republicans must avoid giving the Democrats a hand up as they wallow in defeat and avoid doing what the Democrats want Republicans to do.


OPINION

Set for historic success, GOP must focus, deliver

The party of Lincoln has the opportunity to collectively deliver on voters’ confidence far from the bright lights of the myopic media and set Republicans on a long-term path of electoral success.

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  • OPINION

    The long arm of US law stretches to Americans abroad

    The upshot of this expansive holding is that, according to the court, the Constitution would permit criminalizing almost any conduct by Americans who are abroad indefinitely unless they could definitively show that they were permanently resettled in the foreign country.


  • OPINION

    Aloof Roof’s last act likely sealed his fate

    Tuesday, as he attempted to take on a battery of lawyers hell-bent on ultimate justice, he seemed ever the evil child who, rather than acknowledging the horror and the agony of what he did, was somehow above the process.


  • OPINION

    Russia hacking report more an indictment of Obama

    Why would Putin be so brazen? Simple. He knew that, under President Barack Obama, there would be zero consequences for his actions.


  • OPINION

    What presidents shouldn’t say about terror, Islam

    Donald Trump has promised to change the presidential vocabulary for talking about the relationship between terrorism and Islam. President Barack Obama chooses words that decouple the two, and insists that the violent radicals of the Islamic State group aren’t Islamic at all. Trump, by contrast, wants to highlight the connection. They’re both misguided.


  • OPINION

    Obama admits he wasn’t the life of the party

    Regardless of his reasons, the decline of the Democratic Party downballot is impossible to dispute.


  • OPINION

    I don’t know, and don’t care, what you think

    Talking past each other is unhealthy for our entire political system. A functioning democracy requires that citizens make informed choices — which voters can’t do if their information sources are ideologically monochromatic.


  • OPINION

    Trump could make the Asia pivot reality

    Obama’s Asia pivot had high expectations but fell short on delivery. For the Trump administration, the dynamic is shaping up the opposite way.


  • OPINION

    Trump has a showman’s habits, not a manager’s

    Trump could surprise us; he’s done it before. But a measure of chaos is the norm for any inexperienced president, and can quickly engulf his administration.


  • OPINION

    To confront N. Korea: Talk, then get tough

    We should deal with North Korea as it is, not as we wish it to be.


  • OPINION

    Ford’s bow to Trump benefits robots, not workers

    Ford’s investment plans highlight how the auto industry is at the vanguard of this brave new robotic world. But make no mistake: The rest of us should be looking over our shoulders.


  • OPINION

    Aid approach must be updated

    Over the past decade, U.S. military expeditions have increasingly used development aid to undermine popular support for insurgents and extremist groups, and pacify turbulent areas. But does this tool work in conflict zones like Afghanistan?


  • OPINION

    GOP can’t abandon universal coverage ideal

    Because of Obamacare, Republicans have inherited an obligation to ensure access to affordable health insurance for every American — a duty the federal government didn’t have before.


  • OPINION

    Loner-loser syndrome seen in Roof’s history, actions

    Roof wanted more than acceptance. He wanted to be a legend.


  • OPINION

    The red ink behind Brazil’s prison massacre

    The circumstances that led up to last weekend’s carnage reflect a broad and familiar dysfunction — national institutions that have been enfeebled by neglect and outsourced to enterprising opportunists and interest groups, who operate best in the shadows.


  • OPINION

    It’s possible Trump is playing Russia instead

    Hold on at least to the possibility that the gloomiest pundits and reporters are as wrong about Trump’s capacity to govern effectively and constitutionally as we all were about his ability to win.


  • OPINION

    Emulate Reagan’s initial assurances

    Complying with legal constraints and showing respect for career staff are ways of avoiding serious trouble.


  • OPINION

    Obama was transformational, unfortunately

    If power is the ability to achieve intended effects, his rhetoric has been powerless to produce anything but an empty, inconsequential reputation for speaking well.


  • OPINION

    In new role on Hill, Portman will challenge Trump

    Portman is a grown-up, a centrist Republican with substantial House, Senate and executive branch experience. He is not going to be intimidated by the White House or by Trumpkins’ attacks on social media.


  • OPINION

    Azeri oil money flowed into the DC swamp

    The OCE was a rare entity that exposed the goings-on in the Washington “swamp” that Trump promised to drain — including the inner workings of some shady alliances that have undermined America’s moral authority and standing as a global values arbiter.


  • OPINION

    How about sticking with our ally Israel at UN?

    Obama, frustrated that Netanyahu did not want to put Israel at risk for the sake of his own naivete, has disgraced himself with one more last stand that should not have happened.


  • OPINION

    Sessions will have to deal with Comey’s FBI

    James Comey’s outrageous disregard for the sanctity of the presidential election is one of the more urgent issues facing not only the next attorney general but also Donald Trump, even if Comey’s actions gave our then-faltering president-elect a significant boost just before Election Day.


  • OPINION

    Canada’s limited welcome to immigrants

    For historical and geopolitical reasons, Canada does not have to cope with the same immigration challenges as the United States and Europe.


  • OPINION

    Trump’s priorities will be eyed overseas

    The key to Western democracy’s fate in 2017 will be whether, once in office, the president-elect moves to strengthen alliances with democracies in Europe and Asia.


  • OPINION

    Supporters expect Trump to deliver on jobs, health care

    Even among his voters, Trump’s honeymoon could turn out to be short.


  • OPINION

    Moral betterment a matter of perspective, not year

    Each time progressives invoke the current year, they give up an opportunity to rigorously defend their position and convince others to see their point of view.


  • OPINION

    Obama never understood how history works

    If historians tend to give presidents a pass on failing to arrest slaughter, they are not so generous in evaluating the loss of American influence around the world.


  • OPINION

    Putin won 2016, but Russia has its limits as a superpower

    In a New Year's address that came off like a victory lap, Russian President Vladimir Putin thanked his country Saturday in the wake of a wildly successful 2016 that saw the Kremlin leader shore up Russia's standing abroad and acquire a host of powerful geopolitical friends.


  • OPINION

    Trump can undo some of Obama’s harm to Israel

    In this case, the more ways to signal an abrupt, dramatic change in U.S. policy, the better.


  • OPINION

    Kerry’s belated speech and its lesson

    To fully inoculate the news corps and diplomatic corps, Team Obama needed to brief reporters and diplomats in advance to remind them that an abstention didn’t mean they’d be back-stabbing their ally, Israel. That might have lessened the newsbreak shock value that followed last week’s Security Council vote.


  • OPINION

    Kerry yearns for peace in a vanished Middle East

    On the surface, Secretary of State John Kerry's speech on Wednesday about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was an act of liberation. With three weeks left in office he is finally telling it like it is. Israel's current government is "driven by its most extreme elements." Palestinian leaders are "naming public squares, streets and schools after terrorists."


  • OPINION

    Foreign policy by tweet has even allies on edge

    Bluster and big demands may be great tactics in real estate negotiations — or even treaty negotiations. But they’re no substitute for a well-thought-out policy.


  • OPINION

    Want to visit Mars? Start with a moon mission.

    The moon is now a more compelling destination than ever.


  • OPINION

    On China, Trump more concerned with trade than territory

    Trump seems fairly unconcerned about China’s regional geopolitical ambitions.


  • OPINION

    Obamacare war might surprise GOP

    Republican Senate and House leaders who have summarily decided on a “repeal and dawdle” plan for Obamacare don’t seem to understand what they are up against.


  • OPINION

    Giving Trump a chance doesn’t mean giving him a break

    We should give Trump a chance — a chance to normalize himself, in the sense of complying with the norms every president should observe.


  • OPINION

    See connection between work and dignity

    If we work hard and produce something of tangible value, we tend to feel a sense of self-worth when society rewards us for it with a decent, middle-class life.


  • OPINION

    Berlin attack exposes a deportation problem

    The story of Anis Amri, the man who committed the Dec. 19 terror attack in Berlin and was killed Friday in a police shootout in Italy, shows clearly that Europe, and Germany in particular, isn’t letting in too many migrants — it’s kicking out too few.


  • OPINION

    Putin won’t let up. That’s a letdown.

    Putin didn’t speak for four hours this time (slacker). But the press conference was not short on defensive quips from the Russian president.


  • OPINION

    Pursuing peace through technology

    New technologies can revolutionize defense against ballistic missiles because small, smart projectiles can be inexpensive.


  • OPINION

    It’s not 1914. And historical analogies can mislead.

    History provides lessons for the present, not spoilers for the future. As such, it should inform our understanding, not dictate it.


  • OPINION

    Why Russia’s ambassador became a target

    Even though nations that broadly represent the Western secular civilization have been unable to take a common stand in Syria, they are all targets to terrorists — as indistinguishable as the various groups of fighters in Syria are to a casual Western observer.


  • OPINION

    Trump and ambiguity’s role in foreign policy

    Senior U.S. officials have been pondering how to take advantage of Trump’s disregard for precedent, as in his comments about Taiwan, and the confusion he has engendered on major international issues. Officials are exploring whether this approach may open up possibilities for U.S. diplomacy.


  • OPINION

    High court choice will be a bust for working people

    Nearly any conservative nominated to replace Antonin Scalia is likely to share his zeal for deregulating campaign finance.


  • OPINION

    The trauma of Aleppo in personal terms

    The images of the destruction in Aleppo have haunted us all for days, and we all feel helpless. My colleagues include men and women from throughout the Middle East, and they have raised an angry chorus of blame.


  • OPINION

    Hold off on the obits for Islamist parties in Mideast

    In almost every Arab country, Islamist parties have adapted their political strategies to the local context rather than pursuing an unyielding ideology.


  • OPINION

    Expect Trump’s picks to have a big impact

    It’s not hard to imagine a Trump presidency where the agencies and departments are run more as autonomous fiefs than is usually the case, with the heads making their own appointments and driving their own agendas.


  • OPINION

    Muslims failed Syria before anyone else did

    Even though our entire global community is collectively responsible for our tragically weak response to the continued carnage against the Syrian people, I must also own the fact that our global Muslim community bears much of the blame when it comes to the ongoing disaster in Syria.


  • OPINION

    Genocide in Aleppo: Never again, yet again

    The latest monument to the legacy of President Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize-winning global leadership fills our news screens.


  • OPINION

    We owe it to John Glenn to keep exploring space

    Remembering him is to continue inspiring the next wave of scientists, technologists, astronauts and dreamers to reach beyond Earth orbit and set foot on Mars.


  • OPINION

    Stop calling the Syrian conflict a ‘civil war’

    Calling it a civil war has serious implications on policy. It protects Assad. It also gives the impression that this is an internal conflict, allowing Western powers and international organizations not to take sides.


  • OPINION

    Starbucks and our pursuit of snobbery

    Very pricey coffee is just a fresh-brewed variation on the familiar phenomenon of positional goods.


  • OPINION

    Voters reject university elites’ progressive prejudice, too

    All societies have elites who set etiquette, the rules of discourse. Problems arise when self-righteous elites use intimidation to deter reasonable debate, enforcing a narrow conformity rather than ideological diversity.


  • OPINION

    Many tentacles to Trump’s dangerous spy game

    Intelligence officers like to distinguish between knowable secrets that spies can steal and fuzzier mysteries that have to be assessed without final, definitive proof. The intent of Russia’s covert meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is probably somewhere between the two.


  • OPINION

    Subtle falsehoods invade ‘real’ news

    There is no such thing as an uninterpreted fact, and journalists are just as much interpreters as reporters of facts.


  • OMBUDSMAN

    7 steps to become a more discerning news reader

    The internet democratized media, making it easier for new publishers to get into the business and harder for traditional media to ply their trade. In the process, it’s also made it exceptionally easy to make stuff up and get away with it.


  • OPINION

    No sign that Congress will stand up to Trump

    In the face of the incoming Trump administration, the Obama-era divisions among Republicans in Congress don’t matter as much anymore.


  • OPINION

    Should voters fear the lame-duck lawmaker?

    The record actually suggests that a lame-duck session of Congress may be the best time to make tough decisions, especially those that are likely to rub special interests the wrong way.


  • OPINION

    Expect the unexpected from the deal maker

    It’s well known that Donald Trump has a background in real estate, and that he states his love for “doing deals.” But I’m not sure commentators have taken this information seriously enough.


  • OPINION

    Trump team working to remove top NATO official

    The incoming Trump administration is looking to get rid of the No. 2 official at NATO, an American nominated by President Barack Obama whom most Republicans don't trust. But NATO's Brussels leadership may not play along, setting up an early confrontation with President-elect Donald Trump.


  • OPINION

    Trump changed rules for future candidates

    Trump, to his immense credit, understood that a) flouting the rules actually endeared him to a big swath of voters and b) there might just not be any real rules at all.


  • OPINION

    Protecting space-bound assets is paramount

    The question is not how much a launch costs, but what risk is tied to failed launches of precious cargo or people.


  • OPINION

    Must buy into an agency’s mission to lead it

    Under the Constitution, the central obligation of the executive branch is “to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.”


  • OPINION

    Essence of religious freedom threatened

    We need to realize that America’s founding documents assume an implicitly religious anthropology.


  • OPINION

    Photos show what ‘evil, evil, evil’ is capable of

    A deep stillness settled over the federal courtroom as graphic photos were shown of the nine people murdered last year at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church.


  • OPINION

    Counterterrorism agencies tangle over turf

    Ever since the bin Laden raid, special operations forces may have become too visible for their own good. The celebrity of SEAL Team 6 and other special units spawned jealousy from conventional military units that felt their role was being ignored.


  • OPINION

    How Trump could win the war on terror

    There are risks in embracing an ideological war against radical Islam, as opposed to a long war against terrorists. But it has the advantage of defining conditions for victory.


  • OPINION

    Glenn was an American hero, model husband

    John Glenn will always be remembered for his accomplishments in space, but it was the man inside the spacesuit, fueled by the unique closeness and longevity of his marriage in an era that did not always celebrate marital partnership, who was the real hero.


  • OPINION

    Trump's war on citizens via Twitter

    Twitter has become Trump's cyber-magic wand, allowing him to quickly act on a fleeting idea, a fit of anger or something he sees on television. Now that he is the president-elect, the power of Trump's tweets has only increased.


  • OPINION

    Is DOD burying billions in waste? Dig deeper

    The real scandal, according to the Post, is that the original plan of making the report public — and available to the generals’ paymasters in Congress — was ditched. But how outraged should taxpayers, and anybody who wants the U.S. military to maintain the global order, really be?


  • OPINION

    If you repeal ACA, you must replace

    With repeal relatively easy, and replacement very hard, it is critical to consider what would happen if the budget-related provisions of the ACA were repealed before there was agreement on replacement legislation.


  • OPINION

    Deal with Iran from a position of strength

    If Iran does not change course, the president-elect should make clear he is prepared to impose a new round of comprehensive secondary sanctions against Iran — and then to walk away, with cause, from the nuclear deal.


  • OPINION

    What Obama and his successor have in common

    The contempt in Obama's discourse signals the hubris of his outlook.


  • OPINION

    Fake news: Not new and not just trolls’ fault

    A free press is fundamental to a free society, and curtailing it is an even bigger threat to our way of life than fake news. Besides, banning content won’t solve anything.


  • OPINION

    Bolton fits Trump’s desire to redo foreign policy

    The man who currently heads the State Department, John Kerry, is in temperament and ideology Bolton’s opposite.


  • OPINION

    The case for Romney as secretary of state

    Choosing Mitt Romney to be his secretary of state would be the most presidential thing Donald Trump could do.


  • OPINION

    Extend no-co-pay preventive care to veterans

    Today, there are only two groups of Americans forced to pay out-of-pocket for essential preventive health services and medications: those without insurance and veterans.


  • OPINION

    Pearl Harbor and an ‘end to illusions’

    As catastrophic as it was at the time, Pearl Harbor led directly to what some called “the American Century,” our nation’s long run of global leadership that not only redefined our place in the world, it redefined the shape of the world itself.


  • OPINION

    Left-leaning papers too prominent in Stripes

    A few thoughts to ponder in reference to the most recent ombudsman column and Stripes’ alleged left-leaning commentary pages.


  • OPINION

    Trump’s loose talk has global reach

    So far, the president has rebuffed State Department and most intelligence briefings. He clearly prefers to keep schmoozing as if he were still running a business or a TV show.


  • OPINION

    Fighting voter fraud shouldn’t be situational

    Just six weeks ago, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., penned an op-ed for The Washington Post dismissing any concerns about voter fraud and election insecurity as the whining of a soon-to-be-defeated Donald Trump. What a difference a month makes.


  • OPINION

    Trump is setting a bad precedent. Ask Japan.

    My advice to Trump is to not become a Japanese bureaucrat. Press Congress for explicit policies to encourage local manufacturing — if you can. But don’t resort to public shaming, back-room haggling and implicit threats.


  • OPINION

    Shareholder-obsessed CEOs on notice

    It’s one thing for a company to sustain a few days of bad headlines in the local newspaper when it decides to close a facility. It’s quite another when the president of the United States is not only willing, but from a political point eager, to make a federal case out of it.


  • OPINION

    It’s time to ignore flag burners on campus

    The current flag-burning outrage is entirely sparked by the actions of a tiny number of young people, possibly only three or four.


  • OPINION

    Demographics mean trouble for NRA

    It was not long ago that the gun lobby enjoyed support from both sides of the political aisle. No more. Now the NRA is a fixture of the right — and increasingly, the right wing of the right.


  • OPINION

    What’s required to modernize Cuba?

    When we visited Cuba in October, a month before Fidel Castro died, we found most Cubans’ excitement was tempered with a sense of realism. They understand that their country is not ready for an onslaught of Americanos.


  • OPINION

    Boosting wages for US workers really hard to do

    For most people, two things are paramount for their economic well-being — jobs and wages. A lot of discussion goes into how to raise employment, but increasing wages turns out to be a much thornier problem.


  • OPINION

    A response to the pleas to shut up Trump

    The holidays are right around the corner, so it’s the season to tell other people to shut up. That’s my takeaway from the various events of last week. Let’s look at three.


  • Opinion

    Germany + Nazi denial = Austria

    Norbert Hofer, expected on Sunday to defeat Alexander Van der Bellen to become Austria's next president and the European Union's first far-right head of state, is a member of Austrian Freedom Party founded in the 1950s by neo-Nazis, which opposes immigration by Muslims and continued "rule by liberal elites."


  • OPINION

    Will Trump keep DOD high-tech weapons effort?

    The Pentagon has begun briefing key allies on plans for advanced weapons technologies aimed at offsetting Russian and Chinese military gains. But the next round of these discussions is on hold awaiting approval of the programs by the Trump administration.


  • OPINION

    The places climate change could empty out

    What’s certain is that extreme weather will only get worse, inflicting disproportionate pain on a relatively small share of the country.


  • OPINION

    Trump goes from accuser to promise-keeper

    Trump noticed America’s frustrated working class all year — and this week he delivered a response his soon-to-be predecessor insisted could only come from a magic wand.


  • Opinion

    Trump is surrounding himself with generals. That’s dangerous.

    Our founders embedded civilian control of the military in our Constitution for good reasons: They wanted to avoid a military dictatorship and limit the potential for military coups. "War is in fact the true nurse of executive aggrandizement," James Madison wrote in 1793. And so they formalized checks and balances by making the president the commander in chief while vesting Congress with the power to declare, regulate and fund war.


  • OPINION

    Americans don’t sleep enough, and it costs us $411B

    Sleep matters to all aspects of society, from an individual’s health to the success of the global economy.


  • OPINION

    Illegal immigrants won’t self-deport

    Pushing self-deportation is a tacit acknowledgment that carrying out aggressive sweeps to remove millions of immigrants who entered the country illegally is not politically realistic.


  • OPINION

    The man who couldn’t be killed has finally died

    There is a safe somewhere in the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Va., that very likely contains a sort of tribute to Fidel Castro. It’s a Cohiba, the cigar favored by the Cuban leader, dusted with one of the world’s most lethal poisons — botulin toxin.


  • OPINION

    Why social media is a good fit for Trump

    Because all communication in a pre-literate culture takes place face to face, there’s a greater emphasis on verbal jousting. Of course, aggression and argumentativeness are key to Trump’s communication style.


  • OPINION

    No tears – or revisionist history – for Fidel

    Sometimes history doesn’t have to wait to judge — and when it comes to dictators, even dead ones, we shouldn’t either.


  • OPINION

    McCain could take role of bulwark against Trump

    If McCain clashes with the new president on some national security and ethics issues it likely would embolden a handful of other Republicans and wobbly Democrats to not be intimidated by Trump.


  • OPINION

    Don’t focus on what to call the alt-right

    Ultimately, words coined to obscure ugly realities usually end up absorbing whatever connotations they were meant to conceal. “Concentration camp,” after all, started out as a euphemism.


  • OPINION

    The enrollees who didn’t even need Obamacare

    Obamacare’s architects discovered, to their great frustration, that it was very hard to communicate much more than a handful of crude talking points to the public at large.

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